not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.” – Meister Eckhart

gratitude [ˈgrætɪˌtjuːd] n
a feeling of thankfulness or appreciation

In today's yoga class we set our intention for something we were thankful for. Dedicating our practice as an expression of gratitude, and a reminder of how fortunate we are {in so many ways}. I usually get my inspiration for class the night before, while I'm at work - leaving work - and getting ready for bed as I wind down from work. After quite-possibly the longest week I'd had all summer, after 7 hours in hell {aka Mildred's} following up a full day of catering, with blisters all over my feet from hot hot HOT molten-lava-hot sand, all I could think about was how EXCITED I was for my yoga class the next morning! After very little sleep, a ton of work, and then running around the restaurant - I wasn't thinking about my bed, or how nice it would be to rest my feet- I thought about how I couldn't wait to wake up in 5 hours and head to the beach to teach my Sunday morning class! It made me think about how thankful I am for such a great studio (aka the beach), for the amazing dedicated group of students that I have, and for the wonderful oasis we've created in class - knowing that no matter how little sleep or how much work, I always have these classes to look forward to on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. A rejuvenation of the mind, body and spirit. When I decided on basing the class around the theme of gratitude, I started to think about all of the things that I was thankful for : the big things + the small things...because at the end of the day, they are all important and all deserve to be acknowledged.

I am grateful for my fathers health, that it is improving every day thanks to the help of my diligent mother, the dedicated doctors, and the love and prayers from friends, family and strangers.

I am grateful for the snail oil soap I bought in Ecuador, for $1.25, that will clear up every bimp, bump, and spot on your face.

I am grateful for the relationship that I have with my mother, which a year ago seemed somewhat broken and now has become stronger and happier and more wholesome than ever before. For her love and dedication to my dad's health, and even when he seems not to care, she still is regulating his diet, his supplements, his treatments, his doctor appointments...and writing thank you letters to his nurses.

I'm so very grateful for Julia Bandy, for our daily conversations - though they are only over the phone they fill me up with the right stuff. Years of friendship, many miles, broken hearts and some difficult life experiences have only brought us closer together.

I'm so thankful for FACEBOOK, and how it has allowed me to stay in touch with all of the amazing people I've met in my travels.

I'm grateful for wine, cause I'm sipping it right now and it's so damn delicious.

There is so much, so much, so much - big and small; friends, family, big earrings, my purple longboard, FOOD, healing - both spiritual and physical, all of it - I'm grateful for it all. I'm grateful for my burnt blistered feet...they are a reminder to never forget my shoes when walking down to the beach in the afternoon! I'm thankful for my fingertips which allow me to play guitar, and my legs which I allow me to be a nose-walking, trash talkin' son-of-a-bitch (as my dad would say). I'm grateful for these 4 months of mayhem, insanity, complete madness - working 24/i7....which allows me to live the life I lead, and play for 8 months out of the year. What are YOU thankful for? Acknowledge it, say it out loud, and express your gratitude!

I end class today, as everyone lay in Savasana, with this affirmation. Some of it was pulled from quotes online, some from random sites, and some was just from me...

I am forever grateful for the miraculous life energy in my body.
I am grateful for all the good in my life.
I am grateful for all the teachers in my life.
I am grateful for being able to hear my intuition.
I am grateful for every experience in my life.
I am grateful for every moment that I spend in silence.
I am grateful for having an open mind with which to receive new ideas.
I am grateful for my inner longing to connect with my soul.
I am grateful for my limitless inner resources.
I am grateful for my wonderful life.
I am grateful for the ability to turn inward and find peace.
I am grateful for the expanding journey that unfolds before me.
As I breathe in, I am grateful for the love I am receiving at this moment.
I am grateful for the power I have over my future.
I am grateful for the sound of the waves and the ebb + flow of the ocean, for the warmth of the sun and the beautiful breeze.
I am grateful to all who have helped me move closer to my dreams.
I am grateful to everyone who has brought positive energy into my life.
I am thankful for every spark of insight that inspires me.
As I inhale and exhale, I am so grateful to be alive and well.

WIKIPEDIA SAYS: {by the way, this is great, you should read it...}

Gratitude and Well-Being

A large body of recent work has suggested that people who are more grateful have higher levels of well-being. Grateful people are happier, less depressed, less stressed, and more satisfied with their lives and social relationships[22][25][26] Grateful people also have higher levels of control of their environments, personal growth, purpose in life, and self acceptance.[27] Grateful people have more positive ways of coping with the difficulties they experience in life, being more likely to seek support from other people, reinterpreted and grow from the experience, and spend more time planning how to deal with the problem.[28] Grateful people also have less negative coping strategies, being less likely to try to avoid the problem, deny there is a problem, blame themselves, or cope through substance use.[28] Grateful people sleep better, and this seems to be because they think less negative and more positive thoughts just before going to sleep[29].

Gratitude has been said to have one of the strongest links with mental health of any character trait. Numerous studies suggest that grateful people are more likely to have higher levels of happiness and lower levels of stress and depression.[30][31] In one study concerning gratitude, participants were randomly assigned to one of six therapeutic intervention conditions designed to improve the participant’s overall quality of life (Seligman et. all., 2005).[32] Out of these conditions, it was found that the biggest short-term effects came from a “gratitude visit” where participants wrote and delivered a letter of gratitude to someone in their life. This condition showed a rise in happiness scores by 10 percent and a significant fall in depression scores, results which lasted up to one month after the visit. Out of the six conditions, the longest lasting effects were caused by the act of writing “gratitude journals” where participants were asked to write down three things they were grateful for every day. These participants’ happiness scores also increased and continued to increase each time they were tested periodically after the experiment. In fact, the greatest benefits were usually found to occur around six months after treatment began. This exercise was so successful that although participants were only asked to continue the journal for a week, many participants continued to keep the journal long after the study was over. Similar results have been found from studies conducted by Emmons and McCullough (2003)[33] and Lyubomirsky et. all. (2005)[31]

Whilst many emotions and personality traits are important to well-being, there is evidence that gratitude may be uniquely important. First, a longitudinal study showed that people who were more grateful coped better with a life transition. Specifically, people who were more grateful before the transition were less stressed, less depressed, and more satisfied with their relationships three months later.[34] Second, two recent studies have suggested that gratitude may have a unique relationship with well-being, and can explain aspects of well-being that other personality traits cannot. Both studies showed that gratitude was able to explain more well-being than the Big Five and 30 of the most commonly studied personality traits

**I don't want to bore you with too much text, but IF you are interested this is a great article about WHY and HOW to live a live of Gratitude :)

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