A Reflection on Gratitude: Ways I'm Saying Thanks This Season
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I'm cultivating space to express my gratitude. My personal practice of stillness and silence has created time for reflection. Gratitude is one of the sacred languages of our heart. Here, I reflect on a few of the many gifts I'm thankful for this season.
Through the intimate journey of sitting with myself, I've learned that stillness and silence are my wisest teachers. Stillness and silence have created space for me to be with my inner world made of thoughts, feelings and body sensations. As inner experiences enter the threshold of my consciousness, I invite them in -- like visitors simply passing through.
As a child, I was introduced to Buddhist Meditation by my Vietnamese mother. As a woman whose heart emanated the essence of kindness, my mother existed as my spiritual lighthouse -- guiding me back to the solid shore of my authentic self, time and time again. The spiritual seeds of meditation have grown and flourished into a transcendent purpose. This purpose is defined by my inner pull to spread and teach love, compassion and kindness to each breathing being I interface with. Stillness and silence have taught me that only my inner spirit possesses the power to make me feel grounded, happy and free.
Thank you, Mom, for planting these seeds that have grown into a lush forest, where my spirit is at home beneath the still and silent canopy of my life.
Those who have walked the path before me hold wisdom about which route to take. I think of my father, a psychologist and sensitive man, who taught me to seek a purpose greater than the simple and seductive satisfaction of the ego. My teachers -- past, present and future -- are the gifts of human connection that fuel my inner light. You all believed in who I am at the core, teaching me love and holding me with kindness, particularly in times when the fog of life swallowed me, blurring the road ahead.
The list of teachers spans space and time, including parents, professors, writers, spiritual leaders, therapists and dear friends. You all have impacted the inner GPS of my soul and I'm eternally grateful.
The definition of family is flexible and fluid. At this time of year, I give thanks for the amazing souls this universe has brought into my life -- friends and family, both new and old. When you exude love from the heartspace, you get it back. It's the law of attraction. My life has been gifted with friends and family who have opened my heart to the beauty of loving-kindness. I'm also talking about furry family too! What better example of authentic, unconditional love, in true presence, than the love you get from your dog when you walk in the front door?
Think about those beings in your tribe and how they enrich your existence. Give thanks for those soul-nourishing relationships this season.
When fall hits, I experience the seasonal change on a cellular level. Our biorhythms are in-sync with the changing seasons. For me, autumn brings an innate need to immerse myself in nature. Recently, I was at a silent retreat where I was able to embody the prana of nature -- through the trees, lake, birds and all sentient beings around me. In these precious moments, I felt interconnected with the universe.
As the sunlight illuminated the leaves overhead, I saw the forest bursting with colorful clarity. I was filtering the environment around me through intense 3D lenses. I rolled to my side and observed a small spider swinging from her thread in the wind. Her body was still as she swayed, as if in a deliberate pause. As the breeze died down, the spider began spinning her intricate web-art once again. I smiled, marveling at nature's delicate wisdom, realizing that even the world's smallest creatures have something to teach us. Pause to absorb nature all around you. You'll be grateful you did.
My amazingly resilient clients continue to open my heart each and every day I sit with them. I'm in awe when I experience their courageous vulnerability. Life is composed of both joy and suffering. For my clients to invite me to step into that suffering with them, to help them find meaning, purpose, love, compassion and acceptance, is a gift I'll forever be grateful for. I want people to know they're not broken, that they possess the very beauty and love they're searching for WITHIN themselves. To my clients, thank you for opening my heart and teaching me the meaning of having a transcendent purpose.
Seek stillness this season and sit with what you're thankful for in your life. Choose to open your heart and give the gifts of gratitude -- this universal language that spans every culture, age, race and species. Your heart will thank you.
For more on gratitude and opening the heart, follow me on Instagram (@Mindful_Healer).