It's all over the news. Didn't you hear? It's Thanksgiving. It's time to be grateful. That one time of year. Because news can only cover gratitude once a year and tis the season, I thought it was appropriate to blog about gratitude.
It's my favorite holiday. The one holiday that isn't forced gaiety (New years), forgiving if you are not a part of a couple (Valentine's Day), you don't have to dress up (Halloween), and you don't have to go into debt buying people presents they will only return (Christmas or insert spiritual holiday around December here).
Oh, I don't mean to sound negative nelly, I'm only saying that if this is the one time of year to not feel guilty but to fill yourself with happiness, carbs and gratitude, then this is my holiday of choice.
I'm also very lucky, because I celebrate Thanksgiving everyday.
Every day, my girlfriend and I write each other a list of things we are grateful for.
Sometimes it's like pulling teeth and I really have to reach for things I'm grateful for. Sometimes, like I've written before, I wish I had what she has to be grateful for.
Sometimes, it's effortless and the list can be longer than the five we have limited ourselves to each day.
Mostly, like anything, it has become a habit, a practice, that I urge everyone to start implementing into their daily routine, like eating, sleeping, going to the bathroom, checking the email etc...
Gratitude has become a practice. It has become my routine. It has, on a cellular level forced me to switch on the thought process in my brain not to focus on the things I don't have but for the things I do have. And they aren't necessarily 'things' and 'haves'. To share a few of the things I've been grateful for only as examples, they are, smiles from strangers, being let into a lane or given a wave when I let someone into my lane on the freeway. It is the long walks I have to my yoga practice in the early morning, walking along the barren Santa Monica Promenade. It is the quite, the sunset, the feeling that my dad is here with me even when he is no longer here in the physical form. It's teaching a great class or taking a great class, giving and receiving compliments to friends, strangers, loved ones. It's support, laughter, the cab drivers that speak Russian and laugh with each other outside of the Huntley Hotel waiting for customers.
I was only going to write a few, but as you can see, it's easy to go on a tear, when gratitude is on the brain.
Abundance is everywhere, even if you don't 'feel' like you 'have' a lot. You do.
Yes, you do.
I can say, I wish I had my dad back, my boyfriend/best friend back, more money, more acclaim, can go straight up into handstand with out a hand from a teacher or wall behind me, more whatever, but I simply understand that if I had all that I wanted there would be nothing to strive for with passion. There would be nothing to look forward to, nothing to reach for, nothing to overcome or learn from, no mistakes or challenges to get strong from.
There would be no trials that I can teach from and guide others through.
I understand that even in longing for more, there is contentment and gratitude for being where I am and what I have right now.
I went to a bereavement workshop last week. As I wrote in a previous blog, it was for people to get through the holidays without there loved ones.
I had commented to the others how I felt pressure from people and from myself to be the strong teacher I was before I lost my dad. Hold it together. Be 'normal'. When all I wanted to do was be held by someone or by my comforter.
One man, who didn't say anything the whole time, told me that even though it might be difficult, teaching might be important now, more than ever as I have just come a scary place of loss and sadness, a place so scary that if I can still give in this time from this place, even with my fear and sadness, it can help show others that they can do the same. That we can all, in a place of loss or sadness share and guide insight through experience. It's just a different place. It's just a different way of looking at things.
It's like looking at a large plate with a small amount of food on it. Then putting that food on a small plate and sensing the abundance.
I made a joke in class today. A totally uncomfortable joke that I laughed at but if I wasn't me, would have maybe been like, oh jeez, nervous giggle. Thankfully it was a crew of students that all know me pretty well, so the laughter was understood and hopefully not the nervous kind.
I said that you could lose your boyfriend, best friend and dad all in one year and still be grateful for what you have.
I miss my family (my mom and my sisters) everyday and wish I were there in NY with them, laughing and crying and mourning as a team. But I'm doing ok and today, 4 months after my dad's passing, I still feel very fortunate and very lucky, that I have the job that I do, the friends that I do, my blog, my mom, sisters, support, sunset, cab drivers at the Huntley, chocolate chip cookies and the list goes on.
Whether you've had a crap year, a good year or you won the freekin' lottery, Thanksgiving is everyday.
I got a ticket today, returning a $19 item and Bed Bath and freekin' Beyond. My meter expired by two minutes. The cashier was new, holiday help and having a horrible time. But, she was nice. And I could have been nasty. But I remained nice...and patient, something I'm still learning to do. Go me! And I could have missed the ticket if she got her act together. Just kidding, if she didn't have such a hard time, I mean. The ticket was more than the item. I haven't thought about it at all till just now, because right after Bed Bath and freekin' Beyond, I took an amazing class with an incredible teacher at Liberation Yoga, I heard the new Lady Gaga song, Telephone and sang along even though it was the first time I heard it. I chatted with my mom, had tea with a dear friend, taught an awesome class with my favorite students at Liberation, had dinner with an old friend and got home in time to blog.
The ticket will be paid and I won't think about this day for the ticket. I will look back at this day and be grateful for what I did have. I will download the new Lady Gaga song and listen to it as I run along the beach tomorrow, on Thanksgiving Day. The first Thanksgiving without my dad. And I will be grateful for the friends I can share sweet, sweet carbs with and laugh and probably cry and unzip my pants and take an alkaseltzer and zone out to horrible Lifetime television movies from the 90's when I get back to my lovely apartment in Santa Monica with no one to hold but my comforter...
And be grateful.
Gratitude is a practice.
The news can't cover it everyday.
But we can, every day.
Abundance is yours, just practice looking at that and not the space around it.
And give when others need us.
PS, woke up this morning without the alarm, with abundant energy and the drive to run, the sun bright, the smell of apple pie and roasting turkey hit the nose buds as soon as I left my building. Everyone smiled at me. My breath and lungs were full and expansive. I couldn't stop smiling. I was hit with the holiday happy. Every person I passed, I felt tremendous energy to press on. My feet were light. There was no pain, just lightness and energy. The waves were tall and buoyant preparing to be surfed. Groups meditated, walked, smiled, ran along the shore. I never felt so happy...and I was all alone, with strangers, and Lady Gaga and the sun and the smells, and the intention to plan to be surprised today. And enjoy being full...of potential.