I was recently reading “Breathing Love, Meditation in Action” a book by my friend and teacher Jennie Lee. If you haven’t read it, I can’t recommend it highly enough. It is a wonderful combination of daily practices to bring more joy and ease into your life, and rich, relatable stories to help you feel connected to her deep teachings. There are gentle beneficial meditations in the book that will support you to develop, among other things, a practice of gratitude. Even through deep loss, which she shares so eloquently in the book, Jennie was able to use these practices for growth and to maintain balance and focus on love.
In Chapter 6, in a section called “It’s All About Perspective,” Jennie talks about an experience where she focused on the beauty beyond the cracked window. Great story! It reminds me of the point of view change you can have when you exchange gratitude for dissatisfaction. I hope you pick up her book, there is a teaching in there that will change your life.
More on gratitude:
As I write this, I’m on a long-anticipated trip (2+ years) to Hawai’i. Finally COVID’s grip has loosened enough that I felt comfortable traveling, and Jennie Lee offered a wonderful retreat opportunity. I’ll probably write about something really deep next blog after being in meditation for a week!
I’m spending my first few days alone, in a little rented condo on the beach. When I arrived, as I was unpacking, I set a bag of crackers on the counter. Within just a couple of minutes it was swarmed with ants. At first I was pretty unhappy. I know it seems trivial, you can be thinking “you’re in Hawai’i, what’s a few ants?” But to be honest, I was tired from the trip and unhappy with the condition of the condo. I shook my head, threw the bag of crackers in the fridge and started writing my negative review in my head. I focused on all of the maintenance needs the condo has and all of the ways it is uncomfortable (furnishings, rust, ac that doesn’t work), rather than what it offers (gorgeous ocean view, openness).
This is where my gratitude practice comes in. I’m here for 4 days and I can let the ants (and other issues with the condo) hold my attention, or I can focus elsewhere and feel uplifted by the amazing opportunity I have just to be here. By day two, I was calling them “my little ant friends” and thanking them for helping me find any crumbs I may have dropped so I could keep the kitchen clean. Just like Jennie, when she focused on the beautiful view beyond the cracked and fogged window, I shifted to joy and love, from disappointment.
This all may sound a bit silly, but it is a deep, rich practice that can help you refocus any time, in any situation. Please, next time you’re feeling less than joyful, give gratitude a try!
Gratitude continues to be one of my favorite most beneficial practices. Here’s a recent blog: Need A Well-Being Parachute? Please go back and give it a quick read, and next time you’re feeling dissatisfied with something, practice gratitude!
A little bit of gratitude practice goes a very long way!