It's easy for us to forget all the incredible and beautiful things in our lives when times are tough or when things are moving so quickly we lose the easy opportunity to observe all that we have. Hard times creep into our world and suddenly it's tough remembering there's a sun behind the heavy clouds. If we can find our own little piece of sunshine in ourselves, we can carry it with us through those tough times. Lately, gratitude is my ray of sunshine.
What are you grateful for? What brings light to your life? Write it down. Seriously. Take the time to notice all the beauty in your life, however small or trivial it may seem, and take note of how it feels. That feeling is your sunshine.
Without any graceful segway, my world and that of a much larger community, was forced to find our stash of sunshine when an amazing ray of light suddenly left. The passing of our friend, Dante Bucci, silenced and shook countless people's lives. Death brings about perhaps the most intense emotions we can feel as human beings. The circumstances play a large part, but the feelings run the gamut from anger to despair, and every mixture imagineable. It's a time when the dark clouds seem unmoving, and we are truly challenged to find the light.
Death presents us with the opportunity to acknowledge our gratitude, to rejoice in life rather than dwell on what is lost. To celebrate all the beauty and hold our grief in a warm blanket of love until it feels comforted and understood enough to emerge stronger and more capable of raising its face toward the sun.
Dante's body left our world, but his light and soul were immensely present this past weekend at the Philadelphia Folk Festival. Countless musicians dedicated their set to his memory and every breeze brought with it the subtle singing of his hang drum, his hearty laugh, his light...
My challenge to you is to deeply acknowledge the light in your life, the beauty. Embrace it with such love and gratitude that even in darkness, you have it there in your chest pocket. Feel it and harbor it in your heart. Then, go a step further and remind someone that you are grateful for him/her, express your gratitude in a way you can share with the world. We don't need anything amazing to happen, nor do we need tragedy, to garnish and hold dear all that we are grateful for.
When presented with a challenge, be it physical or emotional, dedicate your work towards gratitude. Make it all worth something greater than yourself. We do this in our yoga practice: the asana is hard work to get into, the salutations get you all sweaty, keeping your mind still is challenging; but we do it because there is a greater purpose being served. We are putting in our hard work as a way to say "thank you" to the universe for all the beauty and life it provides.
So, acknowledge the light in your life and then share it. Write down anything you are grateful for. Go hug someone. Tell someone you love him/her.
"Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet." Thích Nhất Hạnh