There is such a unique shift in my body, mind, and world when I’m in a state of gratitude. It’s like my cells turn into sparkly pink cupcakes and my heart puffs up like it’s supposed too and my perspective loans reality majesty, elegance, awe.
I bow my head to the utter simplicity of a power so great and life changing. I thank the Universe for providing me so many opportunities to experience gratitude.
Then I spank my own bum with a Sarah Ban Breathnach book when I think about how freakin’ long it’s taken me to climb aboard the gratitude gravy train – a movement the spiritual arena has been chugging for decades.
This makes me sit back and wonder just how many popular spiritual ideas I’ve nodded to but not really tried to tango with because they’re just so, well to be quite honest, damn common. Boring. Duh. Take Joseph Campbell’s famous quote “follow your bliss”. This phrase when first heard was profoundly moving…for my parents generation. But if you walk up to most people my age and tell them to follow their bliss they just might slap you. Or roll their eyes. Or smile, swivel away, and order another saketini.
I’m realizing that as cheesed-out or over-used as some of these spiritual maxims have become for us, when faced with the spirituality aisle at Barnes and Nobles we gotta try to distinguish our spirit’s wolf whistle from our ego’s snort.
So I now send energetic thank you notes to the universe all ze time – for my friends, family, snails, Joss Whedon, and the inventor of Hitachi vibrators. For this one seemingly ordinary tree outside my window that provides my workspace with such green vibrance (I swear it waves at me). I thank my organs, my veins, my nervous system, my skin for doing a job well, one more day. I kiss my shower head for giving me warm water. I hug my steering wheel when my car starts. I’m grateful that all I have to do is walk down the street to purchase rainbow chard. I’m grateful for the local farmers, the soil, the elements for creating such a yummy veg. I’m even grateful for my credit card.
Here’s the thing, my attitude of gratitude does not cover up what is seemingly “wrong” or seriously dark or just totally yuckmeister about life. I’m well aware of the nastiness around the credit card biz and health care and current politics and social injustice and environmental devastation. My gratitude does not coat my reality with vanilla pudding (despite the fact that it turns my cells into happy little sweet cakes), but if I work at it and allow it too, it does afford me the ability to see through life’s mirror.
For a basic example: Sure, I could easily cry and moan about the evilness of credit card companies and my current debt – or I could pull one over on the darkies of life and instead of griping, thank the hell out of this weird little piece of plastic that allows me to buy organic groceries and pay for my dance classes and donate to a few wonderful environmental causes and write about the divine feminine without a steady income.
In the past few weeks I’ve tried to be extra conscious of any negative thoughts or feelings or fears I’m having and once I sense those suckers, I write em down, sit and meditate a little, then scribble out the positive side to these seemingly negative things. Jut to be clear, this practice doesn’t feel like the “think positive” new age cliche, because again, I don’t look away from the dark - I’m just also searching for and naming it’s de-lighted twin. And as soon as I make this balanced shift in my perception, I experience a sigh so deep, so lovely, so powerful that I swear Goddess and God are getting it on inside my heart.
And I’m so utterly grateful I can feel this.
And I’m so utterly grateful you can too.
Of course, in your own way, through your own practices.
If you want.
But oh how the universe wants you to want this…