By Jennifer Kelleher

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’d like to begin by sharing one of my favorite poems by Rumi, called, “The Guest House.” Rumi writes: “This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.”

With that, I invite you to settle into the space of your heart with a few deep and intentional breaths. Allow your mind to calm, gather into this present moment. Ask your heart, “What am I grateful for?” Allow your heart to show your mind, in whatever way comes naturally, the things, people, and experiences worthy of your appreciation. The mind doesn’t have to do anything but be open to receive your heart’s answers. Linger in this space. As you are made aware of the blessings in your life, can you feel the gratitude in your body? If not, do not worry! Gratitude is a practice, and the more we prioritize it (tips below on how to do so), the more we will vibrate as gratitude and attract all of the beautiful benefits that living gratefully brings into our minds, bodies, and lives.

No matter what is going on in life, there are always so many things to be grateful for. Sometimes, we experience tragedy, intense pain, or loss. It can be very difficult during these times to let that go and focus on what is working. Remember that it does not have to be one or the other. Moving through challenges is a process. Meet yourself where you are, be kind and patient, keep your faith, and count on your loved ones. We can be in the pain, and also experience gratitude for the small things that are helping get us through each day. Wherever you may be in life, stopping to notice a small act of kindness, a sunrise, birds chirping, or a laughing child can add to your cup of gratitude and boost your state.

As discussed in last week’s column on mindful awareness, we are wired, for survival reasons, to store negative moments, emotions, and experiences in our long-term memory much faster than we do positive ones. Where a negative moment is instantly stored in long-term memory, a positive moment takes over 12 seconds to ingrain. By making gratitude a daily habit, we start to rewire the brain to naturally begin to “see the good” and live life with a more positive outlook.

The practice of gratitude is one that is weaved into daily life, and there are many ways to prioritize it. First, let your attention linger on moments of gratitude for more than 12 seconds. Get really present and soak in the moment through all of your senses so that it becomes a long-term memory. Making gratitude lists for all of the things, people, and experiences worthy of your appreciation is another great way to keep gratitude at the forefront of your life. You can also set a gratitude intention each morning. Take a quiet, calm moment to silently repeat your intention soon after waking up. You may also consider writing it down. Next, you can write a note, text, or email to someone you are grateful for. Be as specific as you can, letting the person know exactly why you feel grateful. Finally, pause throughout your day to notice what is working well in your life.

Wishing you all a very happy holiday with lots of love and gratitude! We welcome you to Ocean Bliss Yoga for daily classes and monthly workshops. Check our schedule and sign up at Call or text me (Jen) at 917-318-1168 with any questions.


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