Gratitude is such a wonderful healing balm.
One of the teachings that’s been working on me for years is this:
The world I experience is the world I pay attention to.
Is it really true?
With years of personal research under my belt, I can say it seems to be so.
And the more I refine my capacities for attention, the more amazed I am by this truth.
Truly this seems to be the foundation for human freedom. And why gratitude is like a miracle.
Some people are so inspiring in the ways they pay attention. Like Etty Hillesum, killed in Auschwitz, who wrote, “Despite everything, life is full of beauty and meaning.”
Or Nelson Mandela who wrote, “I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.”
One of the reasons I adore Mary Oliver’s poetry is this:
She is a master of her attention.
What she pays attention to (and then illuminates for the rest of us through her wonderful poems) is amazing.
Reading her words has opened my attention more fully to the beauty of the everyday world. I’m beyond grateful for the friend who many years ago gave us our first copy of her work – New and Collected Poems. Carl and I were nearly instant devotees, and have bought every book she’s published since, hot off the press.
This morning, I woke early.
It was quite cool and rainy here in Salt Lake, and even still I was drawn to the porch. The magic of early morning is a great love of mine. I wrapped myself up in a blanket and took my morning coffee to the rocker on the porch, our sweet old cat Bhakti snuggled into my lap. I love sitting and just taking in the freshness of the morning, the quiet of the neighborhood with just a few early morning walkers and runners out, inhaling the fresh smells and witnessing new blossoms, plus delighting in the hundreds of birds singing their hearts out.
I sat there, alternating between eyes open, and eyes closed, just taking in the beauty of this one-of-a-kind spring morning.
And as I did, I began a “love list” in my mind.
I love spring mornings.
I love my porch.
I love my coffee (thank you Dave Stewart!)
I love the look on Mesa’s face when he first comes down the stairs after waking up, all wide-eyed and coy, ready to be enthusiastically embraced.
I love the sound of Carl’s laughter coming through the wall between our two offices when we’re working with clients.
I love my Women Embodied group.
And on and on.
By the time I finished my cup of coffee, I was marinating in the neurochemistry of well-being. Ahhhh.
Before I share a poem, I want to share 2 things I made for you. (Well, one I made, and one I’m in the process of making…)
We’re working on spiffing up our website (we’ll tell you when it’s done) and we want to include some more offerings for you.
I’m beginning with a short 6-minute audio practice I call “Accessing Your Body’s Gateways to Ease.” It will be posted on our site soon for new subscribers to our newsletter, but today, I’m offering it here for you.
Want to take 6 minutes to pause, connect, and return to your natural state of ease?
I hope you enjoy! I made it with love.
Second, I’ve been dreaming of offering our work online for at least 3 years. (And I’ve been taking an insane amount of e-courses to learn how to do this well.)
I personally have almost as much of a passion for taking e-courses as I do for buying books. I love them!!! And I’m gathering up my courage to share in that format. Maybe even including making videos (yikes!) So wherever you live, or whatever your schedule, we can share this unique and wonderful work with you.
I’m beginning with a super simple e-course (sans video) to get my feet wet in this new format.
This course is going to be simple, fun, and inexpensive (far less than some future courses we’re designing.) It’ll also be super-inspiring and practical, and inevitably will include lots of great poems. I’d love you to join me!
Registration will open next Thursday. The course will begin on June 2nd and will wrap up on the 4th of July. I’ll include more details next week. All you need to participate is access to your email.
Need a little gratitude boost right now?
Though I’ve watched this video and listened to Brother David’s soft wisdom at least a dozen times, I love it every time I do.
Another 6-minute gift!
“A Good Day” With Brother David Steindl-Rast
And now, a poem from Mary.
One of my favorites.
Care to read it out loud? I dare you.
It’s like a poetic version of a sun-salutation.
And you don’t need to buy any special clothes to do it. :)
Why I Wake Early
Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who made the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and the crotchety –
best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light –
good morning, good morning, good morning.
Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.”
With my dearest wishes,
and with gratitude for you, dear reader,
P.S. Please join us for some of our upcoming events, click here.