These past few weeks I have had a disturbed mind and a heavy heart. The dollars that I have sent to North Dakota and the prayers that I have sent to the hearts of my fellow Americans feel small and futile. I have shied away from my own practice, as if I am undeserving of relief, gratitude and joy even as I desperately want these for others.
The dis-ease, the saboteur on board admonishes me “how dare you recognize the beauty of your sweet, luxurious life?” as I attempt to prepare to lead a gratitude donation class on the morning of Thanksgiving.
As the day draws closer, I can only muster heartbreak and fear and desperation as I learn of the destruction of the last hospitals in Aleppo and imminent starvation of the people there.
And I shy away from my practice, barely connecting to breath and movement.
How can I saunter into a warm yoga studio on the morning of the anniversary of the betrayal of the indigenous people of this country and talk about gratitude?
Me, with my sweet, luxurious life filled with easy clean water, all manner of fresh fruits and vegetables, a warm soft bed, and love love love.
I ask myself on Thanksgiving eve, “how are you going pull this off?”.
And then there is a pause….
The space before the beginning and after the end. Where there are no words, no justification, no explanation. All that is - in the space between the inhale and the exhale.
And I am connected to Truth.
Gratitude is not exclusive of empathy, pain, or powerlessness. Gratitude is a gift of appreciation for the multi layered tapestry of this human experience.
Gratitude feels good, but it is not always joy. Sometimes it is bittersweet.
This heart that has been broken open welcomes gratitude and allows the gratitude to fuel the desire to serve.
My gratitude for my clean water may not effect the people in Flint or the defenders in North Dakota, but it can urge me to action and call me to witness.
And so I will lead the yoga class on gratitude, not take myself too seriously and remember the words of Amma “light your little candle and step forth”