For years, people young and old have been ‘counting their blessings’, and particularly as Thanksgiving nears, we’ll see a profusion of gratitude journals and reminders to express our gratitude on social media. In full disclosure, I am a gratitude junkie and it plays a huge role in our programming at Yoga Home this month.
“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” – Marcel Proust
In the last 15 years there’s been increased attention on developing a gratitude practice. From books to blogs to contests to TedTalks, there’s no shortage of resources to help you cultivate and express gratitude, and many agree on a few key points:
- It is a ‘practice’ – and as with anything, consistency is key.
- Gratitude can be practiced in ways large and small.
- We feel our gratitude more when we share it with others.
The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated. – William James
In my personal practice, cultivating a sense of gratitude is essential to my mental and spiritual health. And just when I need it the most, it’s most difficult to do.
This past year has had an abundance of blessings, for sure…and significant challenges. My Mom died. There, I said it in plain words. I could have stated it in so many ways, but the rawness I continue to feel every day is in those three little words.
And so I turn to gratitude.
I’m grateful I had a Mom who loved me with all her heart.
I’m grateful for the many wonderful years I was blessed to have my Mom.
And yet, the pain of losing her was still there.
I cultivated and expressed gratitude to those who helped along the way.
I’m grateful to my family and friends for the support they’ve provided.
I’m grateful to my Mom’s neighbors in Naples, Florida who knew hotels are scarce “in season” and opened her home to my extended family.
I’m grateful to the realtor who said “Just leave it, I’ll take care of getting it to the Thrift Shop.” when I was staring at boxes and boxes of items to be donated.
And the pain was still there.
One day at Yoga Home, a friend said, “Be glad it hurts so much. Maybe it shows just how much your Mom means to you.”
And that stuck.
Gratitude isn’t always easy. As with any practice (yoga, meditation, or other) there are days we need to treat ourselves with compassion and days we can allow ourselves to go deeper to experience more fully.
Challenging times offer us the opportunity to go deeper in our practice, to be authentic in our feelings, to allow ourselves to feel the full range of emotions. When we stop thinking of gratitude as a band-aid to ‘fix’ things and see it as a practice that invites in much, we leave ourselves open to receiving greater grace.
I’m grateful for that.
As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy
At Yoga Home, gratitude is an important part of our culture. This month, we’ll feature a number of events that allow you to drop into a deeper space of cultivating gratitude. I hope you’ll join us for one or many!
Gather together to celebrate the bounty of the season. Bring a dish to share (and a copy of the recipe, please!) and enjoy good food and conversation in our cozy home. This event is open to all – Yoga Home students and their families, the Conshohocken Community and all who wish to give thanks for life’s many blessings.
Food Collection for Colonial Neighborhood Council – Month long
Throughout the month of November, we’ll be collecting canned goods and non-perishable food items to replenish the Food Pantry at the Colonial Neighborhood Council.
Perfect opportunity to show your appreciation for someone you hold dear. Join Yoga Home co-founder Kerri Hanlon for this all levels class (beginner’s welcome!)
We’re thrilled to host Aly Starkovich, founder of Pop Up Yoga Philly, in this gentle vinyasa class to benefit the Veterans Yoga Project, an educational and advocacy organization dedicated to improving the health and well being of military veterans. Working in partnership with veterans, active-duty military personnel, student veterans organizations, and other non-profit organizations, Veterans Yoga Project supports recovery and promotes resilience among veterans, their families, and their communities.
In this season of giving thanks, join Yoga Home co-founder, Kerri Hanlon, for a special class dedicated to cultivating gratitude in our lives. This extended practice will include a grounding and heart opening flow, time for reflection and journaling, and extended guided meditation