There are moments when the universe blows us away. Something clicks and boundless gifts, joy, and hope flow into our lives.
Sometimes blessings come after an accomplishment like:
-winning a race
-hitting our goal weight
– or finishing a long journey
Sometimes they arrive out of the blue like:
-receiving a thoughtful gift
-having a moment of clarity
– or meeting a new friend
No matter what the source, these moments are rich opportunities to practice gratitude. When we take our joy and give it back, it multiplies exponentially.
I Believe in Yesterday
Yesterday was a day of joy for me. I had a guest post on TinyBuddha.com, and the number of subscribers I had more than doubled.
I am humbled and honored that so many people are interested in what I have to offer. In this moment, my heart is bursting with gratitude and joy.
I realized that this joy had not come only from my own efforts. I had to share this amazing feeling with those who have supported me. So I set out to do just that and this is what I came up with:
The 5 Steps of Gratitude
Step 1 – Thank Your Mind and Heart
We rely on our hearts and minds to do so much hard work. Yet, these parts rarely receive direct gratitude from us.
The first thing I did was close my eyes and offer gratitude to that which is within me.
As my mind and heart received this thanks I felt them relax in appreciation.
Step 2 – Thank Your Parents
The Buddha said, even if you were to carry you parents around, on your shoulders, for a hundred years plus, you could never repay them for their deep kindness.
So, I sent an e-mail to my folks. I shared my excitement and thanked them for their support. If your relationship with you parents is rocky, you can thank them silently or in a less direct way. The important thing is to acknowledge the energy that brought you into this world.
Step 3 – Thank Your Teachers
Whether it’s a college professor, spiritual guide, or friend who gives you great advice, it’s important to thank your teachers. Great teachers affect us in obvious and subtle ways. They guide us, inspire us, and bless us with wisdom.
I owe so much to my teachers Sensei Hogen Bays and Jan Chozen Bays Roshi. Studying with them opened my eyes to the possibilities of the world and to my own potential. Everything we learn was passed down to us. It’s important to acknowledge the shoulders we stood on to get here.
Step 4 – Thank Your Partner and Friends
No successful person can succeed alone. It takes so much support from others to do anything.
The first phone call I made was to my partner Jane Endacott. She has supported me in so many ways. She reads my blog, edits my posts, and tells me she is proud of me. In addition, she does all sorts of little things to support me.
My friends offer me guidance, hold me accountable, and show me I’m loved and accepted. This week I’m going to make sure to connect and thank each of them.
It doesn’t matter if you’re single or coupled; whether you have one or a hundred friends; it’s important to let them know how much they mean to you.
Step 5 – Thank Your Community
Your community might be a spiritual group, business colleagues, your family, or any other group that supports you.Communities support us by giving us a space to explore ourselves.
I sent out an email of thanks and celebration to Zen Community of Oregon as well as my yoga schoolmates at the Bhaktishop. Without the support of practice and the shared wisdom of these groups, I would be lost.
Bonus Step – Thank Anyone Else
As you start to think about who and what you are grateful for many people may come to mind. Take this chance when your heart is full to say thank you to whomever it is that makes your life possible.
–Think of a blessing you have received recently, big or small it doesn’t matter.
–Make a short list of people, groups, or energies that helped make this blessing possible.
–Make a vow to express gratitude to everyone or everything on your list.
What are you thankful for?