Students reflect on The Embody Gratitude Project 2014 & 2015:
“I reflect with astonishment on all the moments and experiences my Gratitude workshop with you Erin has showered over my daily life. Through your kindness, beauty, words, suggestions, poems and videos I have been much more able to pause in amazement, to be touched by beauty and grow a deeper sense of appreciation and gratitude.
Even more so, the Latin phrase Felix culpa comes to mind.
Meaning “fortunate fault”. Referring to the ability to endure a bad-luck event and turn it into a positive growth experience. The ability to take a disaster small or big and turn it into a positive discovery as one builds a deliberate act of focused attention.
I wish for it all to become more of a reflex other than hard work. The journey is long and fascinating.
Observing from afar the war unfolding in my home-land is making this journey a difficult one, yet, this is the way. And I follow the path…
With warm gratitude and deep compassion,
I wish you and your beautiful family Shalom.
I wanted to Thank you for sharing “The Embody Gratitude Project” and share some of my insights. I loved how you clarified in the beginning that this project was not about fixing anything. You simply invited us to practice and nurture what is already innate.
I found it helpful to learn to embody and recognize moments of gratitude during my day, and then use the practice of harvesting them later to embody the experience of gratitude again. I like to practice before bed or in the morning if I have time before getting up. I also find this practice helpful sometimes in the middle of the night when it is often easy for me to begin to worry or feel anxious. I am soon gratefully back to a sound night’s sleep.
“There is room for it all.” This is a wonderful reminder for me. This really helps me when I have a velcro moment. Not so sticky, nothing to fix, just room for it all.
I am a visual person so it is especially enjoyable for me to practice taking in color, texture and form, with an embodied awareness and gratitude. This is especially joyful for me when I am outdoors in nature!
These are just of few of my current observations, I will continue practicing and hopefully I will continue to have aha moments. I am grateful to you for sharing poetry, links, video, and mostly yourself. You have supplied me with many tools for further exploration and discovery. I have discovered gratitude really does grow with practice, and I am finding myself recognizing many joyful moments.
I want to share a big “Aha Takeaway”……
I’m noticing a big shift in how I approach “work” and “to-do’s”. I have had the intention for a long time to focus attention on whatever I’m doing….weeding, mopping, choosing produce at the store…..to experience the present moment and the joy of moving my body, seeing colors, feeling whatever it is I’m doing. But I have always continued to feel an overshadowing of “there’s not enough time” and feeling like I’m just enduring whatever huge tasks happen to be on my “to-do list” for the day or weekend, even while I try to keep the intention of being present with the task/action.
BUT….this past month, even though my “to-do” list was longer and heavier than usual, in preparation for a wedding, I found that I was more present in whatever I was doing……yard work, cleaning, de-junking, as if it was part of a vacation and I had all the time in the world. I didn’t have the automatic thought of “Uh Oh, I only have 3 hours to do this and it’s really a 5-hour job”….as I usually have had all my life. I was even aware that the usual automatic “not enough time” thoughts were missing.
I can only think it is from my recently new practice of gratitude.
More to be grateful for all the time! :() xo, Alane
The last time I wrote to you, my mind WAS the hamster wheel! I could not find my way to my body in meditation, I found this most frustrating. But! undaunted, I continued to meditate and I have found a way to “drop down” again. I had to follow my spine and my body checking in at every level and bone, but I finally found my way. I was so happy, so grateful.
So one thing I have learned is TO STAY WITH IT! Not giving up is one of my big takeaways. By relaxing into what is, allows my vision to soften to see the beauty and be more accepting of “what is not wrong.”
I adore all your videos. You are a superb teacher and excellent on camera. I found it odd when you spoke of other people who may have emailed you, because you made me feel like you were teaching me, taking time to be with me and encouraging me. How fab is that!!!
My joy is definitely increasing, I would have to say that it was truly at the beginning two weeks, I thought I was flying in the sky. Then “life” hit, I am not less grateful or less joyful; but more moderated. It feels okay, and I feel like I can find the joy and gratitude everyday, but I realize now that it is daily work. Not something ONCE learned, and then instilled. I think gratitude is something you must want, must put on the list of “always do’s”.
Seriously, I love having you as my teacher. I would choose you as my guru, my ancient, my mountain top sage; I am not trying to scare you, I feel an affinity to you (please don’t run!!). These feelings both excite and frighten me. So to make the course more wonderful, I would have even more videos.
Thank YOU from the bottom of my heart.
Thank you so much for offering this course; I am grateful that I took it, and have learned a deeper level of appreciation. You are a natural with the camera, appearing very comfortable with your material and speaking to the camera in a personal way. I found that the more I dwelled on gratitude, the more I found to be grateful for, and the more I wanted to share my insights with others.
I have been taking 5-10 minutes each night to do breathing and stretching movements on the floor while reflecting on the good parts of my day. I hope this will be a lasting legacy from the class. I find that without guidance in positive thinking, I naturally tend to backslide into mediocre thinking/feeling. Perhaps the evening meditations will help keep me grounded.
Thank you for your shining, guiding light.
In all things, Love and Peace,
I have truly enjoyed this class. I try to ponder in gratitude at least twice a day. I look around me and see many beautiful things I had never noticed before. I try to take a mental photograph. At night, I think of the people I am grateful for. I try to take it a step further and think of why I am grateful for them. That has made a world of difference. Thanks again!
A quick note to you from my heart;
I am so loving my gratitude practice! There is much going on in my life right now- I want to tell you more on that soon.
In the meantime, I am so glad your emails are waiting in my inbox for the moments I can receive them. Ahhhh. The Practice is supporting my life in ways I could never imagine.
I referred to you this weekend as my Gratitude Coach. A gratitude coach! How lucky am I?! How fortunate indeed.
It has been so enriching to have these 5 weeks of practices and inspiration for cultivating gratitude. Thank you for taking the time to create the beautiful videos- they felt personable and helped me connect with your weekly invitations. Feeling very grateful for you and all that you have contributed to my sense of peace and awareness.
Much love to you!
Thank you so much for including this poem in your Wednesday Espresso. I listened to it whilst still in bed and had I been wearing socks it would have blown them off. There was a catch in my breath when she read the last line. MY wild and precious life. I’ve never thought about it quite that way before. I’ve not given myself permission to be quite so precious to myself until Now. I’ve not known that I even WAS So precious, until now. What a great gift you’ve given me Erin. You’ve helped open the door to me loving myself more fully. Maybe that wasn’t the aim of this project, but what a great benefit to me. :) I guess the time was right for me to pick the ripened fruit of my heart. To taste and savor it’s sweetness. Thank you for this, Erin.
Y E S – I am sitting here SAVORING it, and will do so for several more minutes. I know that I will be able to refresh myself and drink from this well again and again.
In Light and Love,
I just wanted to let you know how much I am enjoying the course. Grrrreat job! Your videos are just beautiful. If feels like you are speaking straight from your heart to mine. I bet everyone feels that way. The graphics and videos each week are just the right sized nuggets to chew on for my remembering.
I can’t begin to tell you the profound insights that have been happening the last 3 weeks. I started this project on vacation, being a part of the birth of our 4 th grandchild, a little girl, and my heart was radiant and full, and I almost felt that I was “cheating”, my meditations were rich and full and I felt this glorious sense of clarity I have not felt for some time.
Now I’m back in the grind, fighting to not adapt the “old suffering that has held me paralyzed for so long” (Oh, how I love John O’Donohue, thanks for all your rich poetry and quotes also) and in the mists of chaos I still feel a glimmer of hope.
I’ve had this horrible weak, filled with anxiety, stressful situations, heavy inadequacies, and children in crisis…. it started to overwhelm me and on Wednesday I had only this 10 minute window in my car where I couldn’t get your audio to pull up but I just read the wisdom of Mary Oliver, I breathed, I felt the warmth of my car, and slowed my mind for just these few precious moments…. I returned to the clinic and my mind had wonderfully “slowed” and I really “saw” my patients…. not weighed down with my inadequacies and paperwork deadlines but just for the glorious amazing people they are and the glorious gift of being a part of the healing journey.
What I feel so much when I practice what you are inviting is my mind really does slow down and I can really see the “secret possibilities and invitations.” This practice gives me space, space and time to perhaps not react but to step back and see more clearly. Anxiety has been such an unwanted companion and at different times of my life can and does rise to pathologic levels and I treasure this chance to ” beautify my mind ” and see how far these practices can take me!!!
With deep gratitude for you, your wisdom, your guidance, you radiant invitations, and the glimmer of hope I feel glowing in my heart,
What an absolutely lovely course. My biggest takeaway from it was asking myself “what’s not wrong?’ as my negativity bias can overwhelm my brain and not make room for all of the goodness that’s out there. I also loved opening up my senses to the sights and sounds of fall, my favorite season. I feel like I eeked every bit of delightfulness out of the fall because of the pleasant reminders that you provided. (I also travelled to the desert a bunch during the month of October and giggled while driving from Spanish Fork to SLC as I have always found that part of the drive to be such a bummer-now I use it as a time to practice gratitude!)
Erin, you are such a gift to this community; this world. Thanks for being such an inspiration and a guiding light. You never cease to amaze me.
I loved the whole thing. The pace, and ability to work in my own time, were really essential to my participating. I loved all of the poetry, and your generous sharing of images of your own sweet family, as well as other’s resources linked in.
I really appreciate the sharing within the group, too. Made it feel more community, and less remote. – Justine
It all works for me! The pacing, the poetry, the practice. Each week built upon the week before, and also circled back. The entire project is about paying attention. And, keeping open to possibility. In the six weeks I not only grew my gratitude exponentially, but also “contemplated the PRECIOUSNESS of our human life!” As you aptly encouraged us to do. Thank you, thank you! – Tracy
There’s room for it all, and that thankfulness isn’t a tool of guilt. That’s a huge, mind-blowing paradigm shift that I’m definitely not very good at yet, but will work on. I started about a month late because I didn’t feel like my mind was in a spot where I could oust the ick and replace it with gratefulness, and I didn’t want the guilt I’d lump on myself for that, so I didn’t even want to start. I’m so glad I was so wrong. My biggest takeaway is that my heart can be rent open with grief, or panic, fear, exhaustion, confusion, utter loneliness, or discouragement, and that examining those things has revealed unending waves of gratefulness. . . at the same time. What a shock! Recognizing that, giving space for both, somehow has helped me not get sucked down and lost in it. When I’m lost in it I don’t notice the little things, or feel that expanse of the chest, or warm touching feeling. But truly, wouldn’t you need that feeling most when you are feeling the ick? To feel both at the same time? That’s new for me and I’d like to get better at it.
That. (see above) And to forgive myself when I haven’t done the practice enough or exactly right, or if my brain synapses for being touched by gratefulness just aren’t firing at the moment, because forcing it sure doesn’t work. Also, I’ve been noticing more of the little things, and I think I do this better on some days than others, though I notice more on all days than I used to. Today it was the smell of the last of the lavender, the feel of the sun on my back, my sweet dog walking close to my side, the mom who I met at work, concerned about her son, who gave me a hug, the dog she rescued who made amazingly soft eye contact with me and leaned in when she normally doesn’t like people, the text from a friend of a picture of a heart rock she found, the part in the book where Hagrid says “You alrigh’? No yeh’re not, course yeh’re not, but yeh will be.” And I’m not forcing myself to search for them, I just notice. :)
What haven’t I learned yet?
I want to be better at all of it! I’d love to have it come easily all the time, kind of be a default, and not have days where I’m not feeling it. Though that might be unrealistic.There are also different categories of things I’d like to get better at feeling gratitude for, but I won’t go into those.
Feedback on the course itself?
I loved it. I especially love the videos and the poetry, and the chance to write and reflect and read others’ reflections. Thank you so much for sharing what you know, for being real and genuine and not making gratefulness all about sunshine and butterflies and unicorns, and glitter, though I love those too! ;) I’ve learned exponentially more than I thought I would, and I’m better for it! – S.G.
Want to join us for the Embody Gratitude Project 2016?