The second of an eight-day exploration of what it means to live life as a gift. Inspired by Br. David Steindl-Rast's meditation, A Grateful Day.
Welcome to DAY 2 of our practice. Let’s begin…
Please close your eyes while you take three slow, deep breaths. Then open your eyes and consider the invitation to: “Look Around You. Look Inside Yourself.”
In the midst of the hustle and bustle of busy, modern life, it can require effort and commitment to truly notice and stay awake to the people, events, and moments in our lives. With numerous demands on our attention, it is easy to miss the wisdom of our hearts and bodies, the richness of leaning into what’s here NOW, and the opportunities and unexpected gifts that can exist within difficult or challenging situations. In short, whenever we are not alert to what’s happening in and around us, we miss the opportunity to live our lives to the fullest and to offer our best selves to the world.
Henry David Thoreau bids us to “keep ourselves awake” with “an infinite expectation of the dawn.” What a powerful and evocative invitation! In the spirit of alert aliveness, today we encourage you to:
If you would like to explore this topic further, you might appreciate:
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What I noticed today is that giving my full attention to what’s going on inside me and around me throughout the day is a challenge. Paying attention is truly a skill and one that requires ongoing practice. I was often distracted today and forgot the intent for the day. Yet, it was placed in conscious this morning and I found myself returning again and again to the practice.
I noticed that I was more attentive to my wife to the point of paying attention to the tone of my voice, volume and supporting her in having some time alone. I also made it to the gym, had a short bike ride, and worked on a lesson for a program I’m in. I also paid more attention to acknowledging my wife and greeting people I met at church this morning.
I wish I could write that I practiced intent throughout the day, but I often forgot about it. Again, starting the day with the intention and writing about it put it into conscious.
I practice mindfulness in order to stay present. Lately I have been focusing outwardly to the events that are politically happening to my relations in BC. Just yesterday, I realized that I have become stressed and angry and have lost my balance within for peace and serenity. Today I am reminded to look outside of myself but to also focus inward and find the peace that is within and bring the darkness that I see outside of myself to the light within for transformation. This is the way to stay awake for me.
I’m reflecting upon Thoreau’s quote to start the day. I find myself questioning some of the choices I’ve made in life, which quickly leads to regret. Thoreau reminds me to reawaken to this moment and be proactive in creating from the present moment vs questioning past choices. If you continue to reawaken and create from the present moment vs the past, a day will come when you can look back and see that it all made sense.
The previous practice asked me to embrace uncertainty in a way I had never thought possible. Uncertainty used to scare me. I always anticipated the worst, and my life’s experiences had fueled that. A lot. But that attitude was keeping me trapped in anxiety, and so I knew I needed to develop a new, healthier relationship with uncertainty. The previous practice told me that, since I don’t know what the next moment will bring, why do I assume it will bring the worst when it can also bring the best? This practice helps with that because, if I become more mindful of any given moment, I realize that there is more blessing than not. Blessing vastly outweighs my struggles on most days. And so I continue to visit this website — to practise what does not come naturally to me: opening my eyes and being open to seeing all of what is around me: the challenging, yes, but also the wonderful. This has helped to reduce my anxiety a lot.
Simple things, noticed by trying to slow down and pay full attention to the moments of the day. My day was richer, made even more so by your posts.
I have put my life in God’s hand. Everyday I say: “Your will is my wil. Your will is done trough me in this day”. The problem is that I only receive bad news. My enemies, people that have been lying against me in the Court are winning. They a are taking everything from me and I run the risk to loose the house I live in. They have already taken one house of mine. I do not know what God wants from me. Is He preparing me to loose everything and live in the streets, like a beggar.? I do not understand love’s God and His will. Is He cynical? Does He protect rich people ’cause they are smart and tithe more than I can? I need to be introduced to this God that is parcial and feels pleasure in punishing.
I had basically this same argument with God for years, just different circumstances. Lots and lots of hard things one after the other. I still don’t really understand God’s ways. But I learned two important things: He can quite well take my anger and lashing out, and he walks through everything with me even when I’m doing my best to get rid of Him. What you discover about Him may be different, but I do think He loves our honesty above all things, and that is what your are bringing right now to your relationship with Him.
Angie, sending you caring thoughts and blessings as you go through this challenging time in your life.
I don’t have words to express what is in my heart to thank The Gratefulness Team for this practice and the whole Gratefulness site. My sincere and profound gratitude to all The Gratefulness Team!
Peace, love and blessings to all.?
I’m smiling because
a million possible alternatives
which would have precluded
this moment we’re sharing
didn’t happen. – Howard Olivier
Let’s celebrate each moment and take nothing for granted as the universe makes no promises, as we saw in yesterday’s practice. I am so fortunate to be alive and sharing this world with you.
Thank you for this post.
Dear Rocco, thank-you for your beautiful reflection! It touched my heart! I am going to write down that quote by Howard Olivier.
Bless you, Rocco.☘
Write an entry in your private gratefulness journal
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An eight-day practice inspired by Br. David Steindl-Rast’s appreciation of haiku.
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