“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer…..” ~Maya Angelou
I came across the beginning of this quote the other week and it’s been on my mind ever since. Gratitude, is a powerful force. It has the ability to shift us dramatically.
And like yoga, the more consistently we practice gratitude, the stronger of a force it becomes in our life.
Gratitude does not deny that when a glass is half full, it is also half empty. Both are equally true. But the practice of gratitude allows our perspective to resonate more often with the glass being half full.
Gratitude can provide strong ground to lean in to during times of challenge, loss and sorrow. It reminds us that grace and blessings are always flowing, even when there appears to be none.
Growing up in a Catholic family, we said nightly prayer together and always included things that we were grateful for. And when I came to yoga in my early 20’s, I found gratitude to be a frequent theme in yoga classes. While I thought about blessings frequently, I never had a specific practice of gratitude or kept a gratitude journal, until it was part of a yoga retreat weekend I attended 6 1/2 years ago. I found that I enjoyed being able to write down my blessings and with some time began to notice that recounting my blessings helped me get through the days in which I felt I had none.
I have shared before that in our Yoga Teacher Training course at SYS, we have our students keep a gratitude journal during the training months, and that every day we share 3 of our blessings with each other via email. I can say that each year I do this, the force of gratitude grows stronger in my own life. On days that things go well, I easily see the abundance of blessings; as if they were pouring down from the sky.
On the hardest of days, the force of gratitude has me looking for them. For even when my mind perceives there to be none, I know they are there.
Nothing has mended more, the grief held in my heart from losing our son Bo, than the practice of gratitude.
As I pondered gratitude and how to share this with all of you this month, an idea came to me.
The idea of a gratitude tree.
Together during the month of December, we will grow a gratitude tree, leaf by leaf. At the beginning of the year, we will put all of our leaves together so that it is gratitude that leads us into the new year.
Beginning next week at both studios, you will find paper leafs that we invite you to share one of your gratitudes on (or more!). We will collect them in a glass bowl and then put all of the leafs together; creating a beautiful tree.
If you are no longer local with us, please feel free to email the studio with your gratitude and I will put it onto a leaf for you!
Thank you always for your continued support of our studios. We wouldn’t be here without you and I am grateful to share in this community with you.
From my family to yours, I wish you all a very merry holiday season!