Last fall, when life seemed to be deep in pressures of all kind and I seemed to be lost in others suffering, I reached out to a dear friend to inquire about being a gratitude buddy? We have known each other through studying spiritual disciplines together over the years, share a common thread of our work and raising children about the same age. I said, ‘what the heck’ she can say no. But that is not what turned out to be the case. This daily practice of sending an email to one another to say just what we are grateful for and about has proven to be a bedrock practice that reminds both of us to see to good in our lives and that of others.
It really is simple, I heard the suggestion on a pod cast of one of my favorite Buddhist teachers, Tara Brach and it hit home or my heart. It is rather simple, just say yes to someone, write as often as you can (cuz life happens). It takes about five minutes really, just say one or two things that you are grateful about, even if it seems like nothing…find one little thing. And send it off!
Here is a favorite poem of mine that I believe inspired me to just keep going, to find just one thing, one good thing, one thing to be grateful about, to say ‘Thank you’ and mean it!
Arms Full of Wildflowers
Gratitude means showing up on life’s doorstep,
love’s threshold, dressed in a clown suit,
rubber-nosed, gunboat shoes flapping.
Gratitude shows up with arms full of wildflowers,
reciting McKuen or the worst of Neruda.
To talk of gratitude is to be
the fool in a cynic’s world.
Gratitude is pride’s nightmare,
the admission of humility before something
given without expectation or attachment.
Gratitude tears open the shirt
of self importance, scatters buttons
across the polished floors of feigned indifference,
ignores the obvious and laughs out loud.
Even more, gratitude bares her breasts, rips open
her ribs to show the naked heart, the holy heart.
What if that sacred heart is not, after all, about sacrifice?
Imagine it is about joy, barefoot and foolhardy,
something unasked for, something unearned.
What if the beat we hear, when we are finally quiet
is simply this:
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
– Rebecca del Rio