Welcome to day four of Wake Up to Perspective, our seven-day practice that explores cultivating perspective as a way to live gratefully through this deeply uncertain time. This practice emerges from Kristi Nelson’s forthcoming book Wake Up Grateful: The Transformative Practice of Taking Nothing for Granted.
“Overlooking and denying what we have is to diminish our blessings and to disrespect their sources.”
~ Kristi Nelson, Wake Up Grateful
Today’s practice is an invitation to shift our perspective by acknowledging sufficiency in our lives. Each day, the inequities of the world are right in front of our eyes. Some people have an abundance of resources, others few. Some are surrounded by love, and others long for deep connection. Some benefit from social and political systems, while others are denied. Today’s practice is an invitation to acknowledge the places in our lives where blessing lives, without denying the real grief or struggle we — and others — may carry. When we can more fully notice and treasure what is already enriching our lives, it opens us to feeling replete and expands our capacity for true generosity of spirit.
We also invite you to share your reflections below.
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Even when struggling through the most challenging times of my life, I have felt abundance surrounding me, amidst my fear, pain and grief. That abundance mostly comes in the form of people. Friends, family, even strangers. Acts of loving kindness, words of love and appreciation, a smile, a helping hand. During those times (and still) I felt gratitude that filled me up and as Br. David says “overflowed into blessing all around me”. Those life experiences have impacted my thoughts, words and deeds in untold ways ever since. I am paying it forward to the best of my ability every day, and that service fills me up too. I’m so grateful for this Gratefulness community, and wishing you all good health, joy and abundance in all the ways that matter. Peace.
Gratitude for all that is – the immensity of love
I have sufficient place for myself in my apartment. There is enough space for work, thinking, practices, sleep. I have a soulmate who supports me. I have a community of like-minded people. I have tasty food and clean water in the kitchen. My health is getting better day by day. I have an ocean of opportunities and choices. I plan to work on my project which will help everyone to be heard when they need it.
My life is working in these ways…..
1.I’m healthy. I can move, walk, eat, sleep, breathe…..huge gratitude for my health.
2.I have love in my life….my children, grandchildren, sisters, brother, friends, neighbors…….I love and feel loved.
3.I have a home that nurtures me and my soul…gives me a place to live and invite others in.
4.I have work to do that I love and that allows me to use my gifts, skills and talents.
5. I have the internet and it allows me to connect with others and learn on line.
6. I have a dog, Gracie, that is my pal and sweet friend.
7. I have books to read that I enjoy and learn from.
8. I have safe, open places to take walks each day and mountains close by to hike up.
9. I have enough money to buy the food I need.
10. I have a morning practice that brings me joy, peace and connection. It allows me to come home to myself and remember.
Watching the fog rising and the sun starting to slowly appear while sitting here in my warm and cozy home, drinking my cup of coffee, having even a variety of delicious food for breakfast available, I am aware that this is abundance pure which so many people have not the chance to savor at all. These days there is much to ponder on, coming back to gratefulness, embracing the overflowing abundance offered each moment. Sharing here, following this offer to take part in is already a gift of sorts. Today, I hope to be able to reply to it with a kind and open heart. Thank you for your patience. Wishing a lovely Sunday to all.
Hello dear Ose!
Wishing you a lovely Sunday 🙂
It was easy to write 10 things that are going well in my life. Focusing on sufficiency prompted gratitude and appreciation. It also prompted the reality of inequality. Many have less and I am settling into a place of being able to give and be of service. I need to stop and listen and think about who, where, what I can do to help. I have just started going to Quaker meetings where being still offers the opportunity to listen….
Sweeping the yard – it was the first thing I had this morning and I notice it was sufficient for the present moment. House, broom, yard and healthy to do it.
I played ball with my dog. The sun was rising.
My husband prepared pure coffee and we drank. We observed different birds in the sky. I was gratefull and I realized, sufficiently and fully – that moment.I found perfect books to study about my new job.
I can breathe. I paused my studies to have tea and eat a slice of bread.
I have listened in prayer and heard God say these words to me: “I love you very much. My greatest gift to you is simply your life as it is right now. It is enough. When you come to grasp that essential truth is when your new life will start. That new life will be
filled with abundance, serenity, and joy. As you begin to realize how blessed you are every moment of your new life you will also come to understand that I will be there always; in front of you, behind you,
under you, over you – especially within you. Go forth and enjoy this world, it is my dream for you.
I am blessed to have all that I have…..good health, Maslow’s basic
needs, good friends, family , and neighbors, beautiful nature around me, good books, talks, readings. Also practicing meditation , mindfulness, tai chi…. and most important practicing my Catholic faith…..and being a good human being.
Mandy, you sound like you might be one of MY neighbors, though there are none named “Mandy.” Yesterday I was filled with joy and gratitude on hearing a single dry leaf, still attached to the branch, shaking in the breeze; and the very soft “plops” of bits of snow falling off branches to the ground. This morning I enjoyed a wonderful zoom tai chi session. For tomorrow, I look forward to a choice of zoom masses – my local parish here in Alaska (Saint Andrew Catholic Church in Eagle River), or the Byzantine Catholic church I grew up in in Pittsburgh, or a Benedictine Monastery in Snowmass, CO….. all different, and all the same… for the Feast of Christ the King. Abundance? Yes, got it!
I am blessed with abundance. Not in money – I live on meager monthly social security but live with a friend and we share the cost of living. Not in spouse or children or grandchildren – I have long lived the single life. Not in perfect health – aging and chronic pain pull at my coping skills at times. Yet I sit here now and know I have everything I need, if perhaps not always what I want. I see Beauty, I have Hope, I know Love, the Sun warms me and the Night quiets me.
I am keenly aware of so many who lack much on all levels. I wish I had a million dollars so I could supply their needs. I’d like to do a big thing for a lot of people. (Pride?) But small gifts here and there are what I can offer. The spoken word, heartfelt prayers, a kindness given, a small donation, and knowing I am connected in Holy Love with all my sisters and brothers. Namaste.
So beautiful Mary Jane, thank you for sharing. And those “small gifts?” They are truly the biggest ones of all. Blessings into your day.
Lovely Mary Jane, keep on with the acts of KINDNESS. They are HUGE. As the holidays approach, I remember standing in line for an hour or so, or maybe it just seemed that long, at the local PO, to mail 3 family parcels. It was the last day for them to be likely to get there; at the time I had a demanding job, two young children, and a depressed-beyond-helpfulness husband. I finally got up to counter, put down my parcels, and reached for my wallet…..and I had forgotten it, somehow. By the time I went home and got it, the PO would have closed. But not wanting to add drama, I quietly stated my dilemma and started to gather up the parcels. The person behind me in line stepped right up (this was pre-covid, when that was OK!), pulled out her wallet, and said to the clerk, “Go ahead, I’ll pay.” Of course she declined, with a little smile, to give me any information to enable me to repay her. So I try to pay it forward, as she did. As for donating “a little,” my philosophy on that is, if everyone gave A LITTLE, there would be A LOT! Loaves and fishes! I have deep sympathy for your chronic pain…..mine has been at bay lately, between a total hip replacement in 2017, and a steady practice of Tai Chi for Arthritis since then…….but I won’t be surprised if the other hip goes, or something else, as my mother has had debilitating arthritis, and I worked as a letter carrier, which is pretty demanding physically. Thank God I am retired now……but that is just one small piece of the pie for which I thank God! Peace and comfort to you, dear Mary Jane!
I keep hearing the words, “uncertain times” , “unprecedented times”. Have we EVER had CERTAIN times???? No! We can only be certain in the here and now—to make an intention to respond certainly in love. Love is a much more powerful agent of change than hate or violence can ever be. I can be secure in placing my life in God’s hands. In Christ there is not only sufficiency but ABUNDANCE.
In this space for reflection and thanksgiving, I am consciously thankful for good health, a safe home, food to eat, a loving life partner and children, a verdant garden, friends with whom I can laugh and weep, kind neighbors, music that soothes my soul, the birds and bunnies that feast on the seeds we place in the outdoor feeder, and hope in a future where there is enough for all. I pray and hope in a theology of abundance.
Since we are not able to be with others this Thanksgiving, I found that I could write a thank you note to those who care for my physical well-being, my spiritual well-being, my social well-being and to myself for the wholeness in life that has been brought to me through all my connections and support
This so much reminded me of Marianne Williamson’s quote, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a Child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberated others.”
Just as Kristi shares, “Overlooking and denying what we have is to diminish our blessings and disrespect their sources,” I suddenly feel free to acknowledge the great privileges I have had in my life. I need not feel “guilty” about the blessings that have come my way, bringing me that repleteness, which I am ever grateful for and do treasure.
I have worked “long and hard“ deriving great joy and satisfaction over the “blessings” I have brought to others; the best ones being the blessings my children, students and now, grandchildren bring with generosity to the community.
May this “expanding capacity” continue to grow in me, in them, and thru our small works, even more come to join in, sharing that enrichment and joy in their lives.
Write an entry in your private gratefulness journal
When after heavy rain the storm clouds disperse, is it not that they’ve wept themselves…
What if you discovered that living with awareness and intention, focusing on what makes you…
An eight-day practice inspired by Br. David Steindl-Rast’s appreciation of haiku.
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We are delighted to announce the release of Kristi Nelson’s book Wake Up Grateful