One of the things I’m exploring again is listening for new rhythms – paying attention to how I move through my days and weeks and listening for what wants to change. I pay a lot of attention to this because I’m committed to following where my heart leads me AND I find it impossible to navigate with a rigid schedule. And yet, like everyone else on the planet, I do have things to get done. Sometimes it feels like trying to catch a cloud with a net.
In any case, I’m hoping to work out a new blogging rhythm – it feels like one of the things that’s fallen through the cracks and I’m not happy about it. So today I’ll play a little catch-up and talk about last week’s kindness challenge – week five of Niki from The Richness of a Simple Life’s invitation to look at and practice kindness in our lives.
The focus for the week was to end the day with gratitude for the day’s kindness.
Gratitude is a subject dear to my heart. I think of myself as an extremely blessed person. I love almost everything about my life. But I’m an ordinary person too – I have challenges, sadnesses, places where I’m stuck and/or floundering. Just like everyone else. But I’m certain of one thing. My life is better with a daily gratitude practice. It really is.
It’s my belief that gratitude and appreciation are some of the most expansive energies you can dance with. Gratitude places you in the joy of the moment, AND it opens the door to welcoming more. I love this bit of Rumi wisdom:
“Hear blessings dropping their blossoms around you.”
Isn’t that a beautiful invitation?
My gratitude practice is a constant that I can’t ever imagine letting go of, although what it actually looks like occasionally morphs. As I think all things should as we grow and change. But this is a core value for me and you’ll never convince me that it doesn’t open the way for receiving more joy, more delight, more blessings.
I’m convinced gratitude begets happiness. And if there were nothing else true about it, I think that would be more than enough. But the thing is, there IS more. Immersing yourself in the energy, the vibrations, of gratitude, brings more to you to be grateful about. It’s one of those lovely little magic tricks of the universe.
Sure it can be kind of easy to be grateful for the big apparent stuff – what we love about our life. The people and things that make our heart just burst with joy. And that’s certainly a good starting place. But the second you start taking it a bit deeper, it really does seem to expand exponentially. Because being aware of the small stuff makes it so clear there’s beauty, and joy, and support for us in every moment.
I confess I get annoyed when I’m summarily dismissed as someone wearing rose-colored glasses with little grasp on reality – as though my life didn’t contain the same share of sadnesses and hurt and hard that everyone elses’ lives do. It’s crazy to pretend that we’re not all deeply complex, multi-layered creatures navigating through a world that seems to get more complex with every passing moment.
But I think it’s a fair question, and one I’ve had some deep conversations around this week – how do we stay in gratitude, how do we hold on to kindness, in the midst of tragedy, in the aftermath of an expression of hatred that shows how broken we are, like the mass murder in Orlando?
And to this I say: This is not a world for the unbrave. We must choose love, and love, and love, again, and again, and again. When our hearts are broken; when we’re in the fire of resistance and small-mindedness and fear that gets expressed as hatred; when grief brings us to our knees and threatens to keep us there forever. There is so much for us to do – so many ways we can be moved into action that expresses the highest and best of who we are. It is times like this when we are called to stay open – to expand our ability to give love, to hold compassion, to remember we’re all so much more alike than any differences between us. And it is a time to remember to be open to receiving love as well. Let’s not forget to acknowledge the kindnesses that show up in our world, that fill our tender hearts and make it easier to continue our journey.
So tell me – what are you grateful for today? What kindness has shown up in your world?
Hi Deborah, I enjoyed reading your reflection on gratitude. Truly beautiful. Hope you’re having a kind and grateful week.
Thank you Miriam! And I wish you the same.
Hi Deborah – this is definitely not a world for the unbrave – however we must make our journey easy as we walk the flints, and pebbles … helping others, helping ourselves and being grateful for that moment in time … as there’s always good things around … “hear blesslings dropping their blossoms around you” – such a great quote … cheers Hilary
I simply love that image Hilary of our making our way through the flints and pebbles with kindness and care.
I had to have my heart broken wide open in order to understand how much love there is in the Universe. I am happy to be able to understand, share and give that love.
What a beautiful thing to understand and share Bernadette.
Gratitude is my favorite feeling or vibe. It always makes me happy. I am fortunate to live in a place where little things that I am grateful for every day. It does beget happiness, I think.
I love the Rumi quote and I love how you love the” lovely little magic tricks of the universe.”
Yes, this world is not for the unbrave, and yes we are complex. And there is so much beauty and kindness and we can always choose Love.
Thank you Deborah, for another beautiful post!
“There is so much beauty and kindness and we can always choose love.” Yes, yes, yes Mary! Sometimes a little phrase feels like such a big mantra, and I think yours is one I’m going to hold in my heart and keep on my lips a lot right now.
Wishing you all manner of things, little and large to delight you.
What a wonderful image at the top of this post, Deborah. I think it was here – if not definitely another Inspired Blogging Group member – where envisioning heart light was suggested as a part of a meditation practice. This is something I’ve been adding to my mornings – which serves as a wonderful gratitude practice as well (along with a reminder that the energy we broadcast really does matter and can be intentional). On the little gratitude things, my early mornings are enhanced by the beautiful chirping of many different kinds of birds (this is actually the case all day long but I mostly appreciate it early). Keying into this early is special.
What a beautiful morning practice Nanette. I absolutely agree – the energy we broadcast DOES matter, and we can indeed be intentional. This is a powerful understanding .
I love the early morning bird songs as well. Sometimes I like to imagine I’m overhearing conversations the birds are having with the trees, and the morning sky, and together they’re inviting me to join them in celebrating another day.
Good morning, Deborah. Thank you for reminding me of this – both the Kindness Challenge and the reminder to live in gratitude. This week is a perfect opportunity to practice loving kindness in the most difficult situation – Orlando. It is so easy to get caught up in the hate. It’s seductive, but we must resist.
I agree Amy. And I also want to acknowledge the incredible outpouring of love and compassion and honesty I’ve seen this week. Even when we don’t exactly know what to do, or what might be helpful, when we, have these collective opportunities to deepen our commitment to fostering unity and not separation it is a heart-opening experience.