November is the calendared home of Thanksgiving and for me, a month to pause and cultivate and attitude of gratitude for the abundant blessings in my life. One of my personal November traditions is to create a daily Facebook or Instagram post to celebrate the small blessings that I take notice of each day. Another tradition is that I guide my yoga students in a gratitude meditation, which I’d like to share with my Scottsdale Moms Blog friends.
Gratitude connects us to the present moment and when we experience gratitude, perhaps we can let go of that which does not serve us. Gratitude has a way of opening the heart to compassion and love. Experiencing gratitude can help us feel happier and more balanced. It uplifts our spirit and feeds our hearts.
I invite you to find a quiet spot, sit comfortably and close your eyes while you take a few deep breaths in and out through the nose. I know you can’t read this with your eyes closed, but just go ahead and do that part for now. Open your eyes and continue reading when you’re ready. (Wouldn’t it be nice to have a friend/husband/partner read this to you? If you have someone handy, grab them. Otherwise, do your best to maintain a feeling of serenity as you read this, wherever you are.) This meditation will take us through our physical body, pausing at each body part to reflect on how special and wonderfully made we are.
Chances are there will be moments you feel gratitude and when you do, let yourself sink into that feeling. Surrender to it. Melt into it. And if you don’t feel grateful at times, that’s ok. Don’t try to make yourself feel anything. Just try to connect to your heart and not your head. Gratitude is a practice and all I ask of you is to give yourself grace.
Bring awareness to the breath. Inhale. Exhale. Give gratitude that each breath gives life. Bring awareness to the heart. Beating and filling with love, compassion and peace. Bring your mind’s eye to the physical eyes. Eyes that let us see color, faces, a baby’s smile, nature, the glorious sunset, rainbows, the moon, the stars, and our very selves in the mirror. Become aware of the ears that bring in sound, music, children’s laughter, the voices of those we love, silence, the sounds of life. Give gratitude to the nose that smells the desert before a rainfall, a bouquet of roses, the salty ocean air, the wafting smells of a Thanksgiving feast. Thank you, lips and mouths that tastes and savors, and kisses boo boos and sweethearts. That whispers and sings and speaks words like, “hello,” “I love you,” “please,” and “thank you.”
Bring awareness to the hands that hold precious little hands, that touch, caress, and pet. That open and close, applaud, pray. Arms and shoulders that hug, carry, lift and stretch. Thank you, legs, feet and toes. Thank you for the gift to wiggle, stretch, transport us, walk, run, dance, dangle from the side of the pool.
What about our fears and sorrows? Offer a word of gratitude for the strength that we seem to muster to make it through each day. Bring awareness to your abundance and the potential to see growth in every moment, no matter how difficult the moment may seem.
Think about the relationships in your life, new ones and old ones and the relationship you have with your children. Abundant gratitude for each person in your life and the blessings and gifts that they are. Extend loving kindness even to those who you may not always feel so loving towards.
Give gratitude to the material things that have come to you unexpectedly and for the things that that come to you from great effort. When we pause and offer gratitude, we no longer take these things for granted. The assumption that we are entitled to anything in life robs us of our awe.
Now just breathe and offer a word of grace to yourself to feel more at ease. Perhaps a wave a warmth, love, compassion washes over you that cultivating an attitude of gratitude brings to the heart.
Gratitude can more easily flow through us when we become open, accepting, vulnerable and willing to open ourselves to the grace of the universe. Start each day by giving yourself time to count your blessings and watch your life unfold with greater fulfillment and joy.