Experience Gratitude, Experience Grace

Photo of cactus bloom
Grace and Gratitude! This cactus bloom showed up outside my door today.

Several years ago I wrote a post I called a “Somewhat Contrary Take on Gratitude.” You can check it out here.

I just reread it and felt some love and appreciation for my former self, who was actually much wiser than I’ve given her credit for.

And—in the intervening years I learned so much to enhance my experience of gratitude and appreciation. I no longer feel any sense of obligatory action or rebellion when these words come up.

Gratitude is up for me right now because I just began Oprah and Deepak’s latest 21-Day Meditation Challenge. This one is about Manifesting Grace through Gratitude. (Find out more about this free streaming meditation series here.)

Say what you will… I love both Oprah and Deepak. Even though I’ve only recently had my “Come to Oprah” moment. Well, by recently I mean in the last several years. Before that I thought Oprah was just another mainstream television talk show personality, and since I rarely watched TV I knew very little about her.

I came to appreciate all that Oprah has brought to the world when I was a returning University student, majoring in women’s studies and journalism. In one of my women’s studies classes we did group presentations, each group choosing a woman who has made a big difference in the world.

One of the groups presented on Oprah, and that’s when I first learned of the generosity and good works of this gifted woman and cultural icon. I was also struck by her resilience and tenacity in overcoming so many intense obstacles to rise to where she is today.

Since then I’ve followed her more closely, especially since becoming a Martha Beck coach. (Martha writes a column for Oprah’s magazine, and I’ve realized that Ms. Winfrey promotes some seriously right-on thinking.)

Anyway… I digress.

The latest O&D meditation series has just begun, and I wondered if I’d get much out of it. After all, I’m a seasoned meditator now, no longer a beginner. But I do love listening to Deepak’s velvety voice speaking those spiritual truths that I need constant reminding of. So I enjoy preceding my meditation with his teachings.

(I can hear Spirit laughing now! No longer a beginner! Hahahahaha!)

On Day 2, I learned a whole new dimension to the feeling and expression of gratitude. 

I’ve recently been practicing the allowing of the feeling of gratitude to infuse my entire body. To bask in the heart opening and warmth of the emotional experience of appreciation. This is so much deeper and more satisfying than merely thinking about how grateful I am for this or that.

But, in addition to this, I now understand that appreciation is a two-way dance. When I feel gratitude and appreciation for something—such as the gardenia I wrote about the other day—that thing I am appreciating reflects back the beauty of the gratitude to me!

So...by the simple practice of feeling the gratitude I am receiving a blessing and opening myself to more wonders to appreciate.

OK, Deepak expressed this a lot more eloquently than I am. But you get the idea.

Next time you experience gratitude—whether in the moment or in your formal gratitude—practice, take a moment to reflect on and bask in the blessing being returned back to you. 

This stuff just gets better and better doesn’t it?

 

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