Right now I have many close friends who are climbing big mountains: friends who are facing those Big Challenges that shake us up and down and around in all directions. They are those Big Words that bring up Big Emotions just through the mere mention of them: Cancer, Divorce, Loss of a Parent, etc. Big, big stuff. So when I sat down to prepare my Thanksgiving yoga class for this week, I felt called to reflect on gratitude in a big way - not just the "I'm so grateful for everything that's gone well for me" because, lately, that doesn't feel like enough. In fact, something even feels fearful about that: let me cling so tightly to what's "good" because I might lose it so I'd better appreciate it as much as I can right now in this big bad world. This type of gratitude is not the kind that will move us forward as a human race, nor is it the kind that will help us climb the big mountains, which, sorry if this is upsetting to you, we will all face some day, in one form or another.
So, I'm done with cut out turkeys, smiling Pilgrims and "Indians" (I'll save my commentary on that for another day ;)), and happy-go-lucky but clouded statements of inauthentic gratitude. I want the real stuff. The kind that allowed me to wipe my tears in the middle of a hurricane and opened my heart to what was "good" about those Big Challenges I've faced in the past: the loss of my Grandmother, the miscarriage of my first child, the emotional aftermath of civil war in Uganda. So how can we do this? Lord knows that I'm not perfect at it, nor am I an expert, but in those few moments when I could feel that fleeting sense of purpose behind my pain, the gentle voice whispering to me through the tears "I know this is hard, but just keep going; it will all make sense one day; fear not" I know that there is more to being grateful than just a plasticky saccharine sweet sense of being happy when things are "good."
So this week's Tuesday Night Gratitude class at Greendale Community Church will be all about softening our hearts, cracking the resistant icebergs of the heart while staying strong in our bodies so that we have the strength to show up for the journey - no matter what Big Challenges it may include - and be grateful for it. This Thanksgiving week, join me on the mat for a real, wide-open, brave and fearless sense of opening to Life, so that we can "let the journey be enough" and enter a true sense of gratitude.
Yoga Therapist, Teacher, Speaker, Writer, Mother