A Moment of Gratitude….
During this busy time of year, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle bustle of meal planning, gift buying, and travel plans. ‘Black Friday’ sales begin earlier than ever before, and aggressive consumerism always makes headline news. Amongst the stress of holiday planning, many of us forget that the true meaning of Thanksgiving is gratitude. The pilgrims and Indians came together to celebrate and be thankful for the rich and abundant gifts from the earth. They celebrated friendship, camaraderie, and potential. The very first Thanksgiving feast was one of gratefulness.
Gratitude is an idea that I present to my clients and yoga students often. Gratitude creates space for abundance, and when we let go of the ‘I wants’ we suddenly realize how much we already have. Cultivating a deep sense of gratitude takes practice. Just as we practice yoga postures, we must also make time to practice the feeling of gratitude, tending to it like a gardener tends the soil. Just as a flower wilts without water, gratitude wanes without appropriate time and attention.
During this holiday season, I challenge you to cultivate your own garden of gratitude. Begin a gratitude journal, writing down 2-3 things that you are grateful for each day. Use this simple meditation each morning or evening:
Sitting up tall in a quiet space, place both hands, one on top of the other over your heart center. Take a few deep, slow breaths and begin to think about a thing or a person that you are grateful for. As you continue to breath into the thought, begin to feel gentle warmth emanating from your heart. Let this feeling expand throughout every cell. Spend at least 3 minutes, present in this sensation of gratitude in the heart center. Anytime that you feel the mind begin to wander to another thought, simply bring the mind back to the breath, and back to the warm feeling of gratitude.
Finally, my own moment of gratitude:
Today, I am grateful for all of my clients and yoga students. You have all taught me so much about myself over this past year. Each new day, I am challenged to move beyond my comfort zone, and have grown exponentially as a clinician, a teacher, and a person- more than I ever thought possible. A sincere Thank You to each of you.
Rachel Matrejek works at The Lighthouse Emotional Wellness Center, she is a licensed counselor and a certified yoga instructor. Located in Arlington Heights, The Lighthouse Emotional Wellness Center, provides the guiding light of emotional wellness for couples and families,and provides services such as: couples and family counseling, individual counseling, psychiatry and personal development workshops. For more information about their services, visit www.lighthouseemotionalwellness.com