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Monthly Inspiration: November 2014

Gratitude

By Alison Burke

"It is not happy people who are grateful. It is grateful people who are happy."

Aaaaaahhhh... November. The hours of daylight are waning. There is a gentle crispness to the air and many people are beginning to think about the upcoming holiday season. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, our (pretty obvious) focus of the month at Kama Deva is gratitude.

In recent years, much light has been shed on the importance of having some sort of gratitude practice, whether it be journaling, meditating or just making a conscious effort to be grateful for something, anything, on a daily basis. It seems such practices slow us down and force us to observe the things we are thankful for; the so-called "gifts of life".

Thornton Wilder said, "We can only be said to be truly alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures." Being thankful seems easy when our lives are going well. But what about in difficult times? Does the idea of gratitude seem just out of reach, or, perhaps even light years away, when faced with life's hardships? Going through life's ups and downs with a grateful heart drastically affects how one experiences life. The ability to find beauty during times of strife is a gift that causes us to really look at how good we have it. Almost two years ago, I lost my best friend in a tragic car accident. There seemed to be no light at the end of my tunnel, just a deep sadness that burdened me for a long time afterwards. A wise woman told me that the opposite of grief is joy. After my grieving, I was able to see how much joy I received from my lost friend. I am grateful for the times we had together and, as tragic as it is, for the lessons that I learned from his death, which have fostered my spiritual growth and transformation. A grateful heart is a quality that we should strive for year-round, not just during the holiday season.

As humans, especially ones as fortunate to live where we do, we have become accustomed to a certain quality of life. We have standards of living that we get caught up in, comparing ourselves and what we have to others and taking the things we do have for granted. It is easy to focus on the things we don't have, but, with a change in perspective, focusing on the things WE DO have is just as easy. Gratitude turns what we have into enough. Perhaps, along with this focus of the month, I can offer you a challenge of the month: Can you replace some of your expectations with a sense of awe? Can you see your world and all of the things in it as a child would, with wonder and amazement for even the simplest of things? Try it and see how your life improves.

Practicing gratitude with your yoga is a great way to honor your body and all of the things it does for you. Your heart beats without telling it to. Your breath flows in and out without thought. This month, let's practice eka pada rajakapotasana (pigeon pose) and bow forward in deep reverence and appreciation for the gifts our bodies give us. Wishing you the happiest of holidays and much love and light throughout the year. Namaste.

In deepest gratitude,
Alison

KamaDeva Yoga, 15 Lumber Lane, 2nd Fl, East Hampton, NY 11937 Tel: 917.301.6919 Monthly Inspiration Archives