Gratitude

November 26, 2015

I have an amazing teacher, friend, kindred-soul guide I met out in Berkeley.  She is a dancing priestess creatrix of life and love, a person who prays like she means it.  Once, when I was telling her about some issues coming up in my life, she looked at me with that fierce, blue-eyed gaze of hers and said, point-blank, “Erin, have you prayed about it?”  My immediate reaction was, uh, yes, of course.  But I knew she meant something deeper– have you REALLY prayed about it, prayed like you mean it, have you really asked for exactly what you need?  

Ask and you shall receive,

Seek and you shall find,

Knock and the Door will be opened to you.

I don’t think my wise friend would identify as  Christian per se, although she lives by the central principles of Christianity better than a lot of Christians I know.  She lives like this stuff is real, like prayers are answered on the regular (because they are) and like the act of asking in itself is powerful (because it is).

On this day of Thanksgiving, another wise nugget she taught me comes to mind– start every prayer, every time set aside with the Divine, every day– with gratitude.  It’s easy!  she said.  Just begin your day in gratitude– what in your life are you bowing to?  What “amazes you with joy and gratitude”?  It’s magic, she said, because once you start this prayer, one thing you’re grateful for leads to the next thing, and pretty soon, you’ve been sitting in gratitude and goodness for a good chunk of time.  Then, the rest flows– the asking for, the checking in, the praise and wonder, the co-creating with God.  All the rest of the prayers come, when you begin with the magic of gratitude.  

I’ve experimented with this and found it to be true.  One moment of gratefulness leads to the next, and to the next and to the next until I am amazed by all the things there are to be grateful for in this one, small life.  I start to SEE how prayers are being answered around me, all the time, everywhere.  The gratitude lifts me and gives me energy.

I begin with what is closest to me– my family, my beloved husband, my students and coworkers, my neighbors and friends.  My dogs… those amazing animal spirits!  This life John and I are building in St. Louis.  Our neighborhood and especially our beautiful park just a few blocks away.  Oh nature, yes!  I am so grateful for nature… for beauty, for God’s face everywhere.  God!  Where would I be without You?  Thank you for the ways you guide and challenge and love me into being.  Thank you for your closeness, for your reassurance, for life!  Thank you for this YES you give to me and to each of us, to choose Life, the one with the capital “L”, the Life that is unique in this being (me) and yet also connected to every living thing.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!  

And so on.  

Like she said, Magic!  

There is an opening that comes in Gratitude, an opening to the truth of this moment, this day, this life.  There is so much to be grateful for.  There are so many prayers being answered in our midst.
So it is!  

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