This is a little post about gratitude. This morning I got up incredibly early for me and had a Skype session with an Australian friend. The sun came up while I was on the computer. Once the session was over, I came out to the kitchen and caught the sun doing this amazing thing. You know, like shining on a wall. The sunlight slants in like this for just a few minutes in the morning at certain times of the year. Most of the time, I'm either still sleeping or too busy to stop and enjoy it.
I've tried a few things as part of a gratitude practice. One of my favorites was writing something down on a post it note when I caught myself in the act of being grateful and putting that note into a box. The idea is to empty it at the end of the year and read them all. It's great, because you get to re-experience the gratitude all over again.
I think maybe the next step is to sometimes catch a picture when I'm grateful about something. Particularly for the ephemeral things, like light. Light has often been something I hungered for. In New York City in the 1990's, my apartment faced north. The building across the street blocked most of the window. I felt stunted, like my plants. Once I was finally in a house in the suburbs north of the city, sweet rays of sunlight filtered into my kitchen on a slant on cold January mornings, just when hope for summer was at its dimmest. I sat in them, let them wash over me, let them light up my eyelashes.
Gratitude gives me a feeling of resonance in my body, like somehow I'm connected to everything and everyone else. In physics, resonance means the reinforcement or prolongation of sound by reflection from a surface or by the synchronous vibration of a neighboring object. Maybe when we are grateful we give off a synchronous vibration that others can pick up on unconsciously? However it works, gratitude has been shown to help our happiness and health. Have you added a gratitude practice in your life? How has it helped you?