Thanksgiving Day is a day I really enjoy, a holiday for me that has a ease to it. No rushing to buy gifts, not trying to fight the weather (usually), and in my house we kind of just do as we need until its turkey time. Now don’t get me wrong, today will be my third of four turkey dinners (and I don’t even eat turkey) but even through my family is on round three, in no way do I feel hurried or rushed (and that’s with three kids).
Every Thanksgiving for the last nine years I have had the privilege of starting out my day with a group of yogis at my studio, bright and early, before the sun is even up for a Thanks-and-Giving Yoga Offering. This morning I was graced with nineteen yogis ready on their mats to move their bodies and open themselves with a thankful heart and an offering of gratitude as they practiced alongside each other.
The class is focused in asana-yes, but the guidance was all about gratitude and thanks. After a seventy-five minute practice we sat for meditation in which the room full of yogis whispering everything, everyone and anything they could think of that they were grateful for. The quite prayers of thanks floating through the room filled my heart with joy and gratitude as I both listened in and recited myself my list of thanks.
Those moments when a few small tears roll down the side of my cheek as I guide the class, those are the moments I know I am being guided by my Higher Power. After we all offered a prayer of gratitude, we recited the METTA Meditation, and once again my heart was full of gratitude, that not a one stayed silent, that each person carried the verbal offering across their lips, and again that small tear rolled down my cheek. After a small pause and three rolling Om’s of gratitude we exchanged thanks and the room slowly filed out.
As many showed their thanks to me for offering them practice this morning, but more than anything, having the ability to arrive at my mat, to guide individuals that truly wanted to be there, and listen to what I had to say was an amazing gift, and act of gratitude on their part as well.
I can only speak for myself but when we continually offer gratitude and thanks, beyond Thanksgiving Day, not just in the good moments but in our many moments of confusion, uncertainty, and facing the unknown, we can develop a greater sense of clarity and certainty as gratitude puts our lives in perspective.
Each year I teach this Thanks-and-Giving yoga practice, I am reminded that I can get up early, I can arrive on my mat each day, and I can lead all kinds into a place of mental clarity, physical ease and subtle surrender.
Today I ask you as you give thanks out to all those that surround you: family, friends, the stranger in line behind you, the lady looking to get in as traffic merges, and to your own unique self; and remember your unique gifts you have been given. Have you offered gratitude for those gifts and the bigger question is- are you using them.
See for me, I know what my true gifts are and as I continue to step closer and closer to fully embracing and using them, in all in encounter, I can give gratitude and thanks. Those hardships and struggles you have endured have gotten you to the place you are at right now. The many days of uncertainty and confusion have brought you to a place of clarity-why? Because you continually arrived at your mat, over and over and over again, even when you thought you could not do it, when it felt too hard, when you didn’t like what the teacher did or didn’t do, you still arrived (that mat I am talking about- is life).
A day like today is not about analyzing others lives, or even your own, but rather working to simply be in the moment, as I tell my students- be in the tightness and then as it passes, you can be a part of that too.
Today, don’t just think gratitude and thanks, show it, be it, offer it out in every opportunity can. And in doing that, you will receive; you will gain clarity on your own life, and you will be able to share that clarity with all those around you.
I am thankful for many things:
My family: my husband, my four children, three of which I get to share my life here with
My students and Copper Tree making what I do possible
My friends and extended family
My chickens and dogs
My hardships and struggles that have made me stronger and all the wiser
My gift of teaching, writing, and speaking
Those special people in my life who have gone over and beyond to assist me and work alongside me
All the people that have come into my life that have taught me to be stronger and most importantly be myself
My Creator and life itself!