10 years ago I was in a packed out bar in Dublin, smashing down the ales and looking for connection.
I started chatting to an old fella at the bar.
He had white hair so I thought he might have some wisdom.
I asked him to give me a piece of wisdom that he’d learned from life.
He looked at me with a mixture of a smirk and a question and an effort of recall, and told me that he didn’t have any wisdom to give.
In that moment I learned that wisdom doesn’t come with years and grey hairs.
And so started the quest.
Where does wisdom come from then?
Where do all those wise people get it from?
Why don’t all the old grey-haired people have it?
Why do some young people have it?
Soon enough I realized that it doesn’t come in a bottle. Well not for me anyway. And it definitely feels lacking the morning after a bottle.
Soon enough I learned that there are ways to cultivate it. Many wise ones have shown the way.
I’m not claiming to be wise but since that very year, with each passing year, I’ve been able to look back and see that I have learned something new, something that feels worthwhile. I’ve grown in ways that girl in Temple Bar 10 years ago didn’t even know about.
Since then a Gratitude Practice has become an important part of each year. I take a day or so to reflect on the year that’s been, with Thanks for everything.
I usually write down only those things that are particular to that year. Things that have been new or seen in a new light or particularly important in my life.
I give thanks for all the big things and small things, good things and bad things, ordinary things and extraordinary things.
(My list is actually about twice as long as what I’ve included below, Etai thought it might be a bit excessive to put it all here, he’s probably right, I actually list people by name!)
As I sit down to do the gratitude practice this year it reminds me of one of the teachings of mindfulness that I was reminded of by Thich Nhat Hanh this year, “If you are not aware that you are eating the tangerine, the tangerine is not real.”
If I don’t acknowledge all that I have experienced and learnt, each precious moment, then I was I really there?
If I don’t know that I had a million blessing last year, then will I see them arise this year?
And so I give thanks…
GRATITUDE TO ALL OF THE EARTH
Mexico. Guatemala. Israel. China. Thailand. Cambodia. New York. Los Angeles. Chiang Mai. Pai. San Marcos La Laguna. Tepoztlan Caves. Amatlan Trees. Las Grutas Tolantongo Hotsprings. Pai Natural Hot Springs. Ocean Sunsets, Mountain Moonrises, Mars and Venus aligning in the Western Sky, Mild Winters, Vast Valley Views, Floods, Wu Tao Mountain and Pai Canyon.
GRATITUDE FOR ALL THINGS CEREMONIAL
Full moon ceremonies of singing, dancing, Tibetan bowls, didj, Dr Zeuss, intentions, dreams, global connections, Earth Treasure Vase Meditation, hugs, laughter and cycles. Easter in San Marcos with streets full of colour. Passover in San Marcos. Hannukah in Pai. New Moon Yoga Dance. New Moon chanting in Doi Suthep. Christmas in Cambodia with a cake and candles. New Year’s Eve ritual of love.
GRATITUDE TO ALL OF THE PEOPLE
Loves, new friends, old friends, blood family, soul family, supporters, clients, healers, smiles, laughs, feasts, the most simple everyday interaction, the little boy from Texas who gave me a crystal by the lake.
GRATITUDE TO ALL OF THE GUIDES, TEACHERS & INSPIRERS
Manjushri, Quan Yin, Lao Tzu, DaoShin, Buddha, Patanjali, Tara, Mother Earth, Father Sky, Feathered Serpent, Centipede, Tarantula, Dragonfly, Firefly, Slug, Kitten, Pelican, Jeff, Sadhguru, Mari Smith, Sivananda, Jan Chozen Bays and Thich Nhat Hanh.
GRATITUDE FOR ALL THINGS HEALING & MEDICINAL
Vipassana, Self Hypnosis, LovingKindness, Ayurveda, Chinese medicine, Mindfulness, DreamCatcher Weaving, Mhyrr, Homemade Toothpaste, Squat toilet with lake views, Massages in Hong Kong at midnight on my birthday after 14 hours on trains and buses, Sound Healing and Heart Sounds. Gratitude. Love. Peace. Joy. Laughter.
GRATITUDE FOR ALL OF THE FOOD & FOOD PLACES & COOKS & WORKERS & SUPPLIERS
Permaculture gardeners, health food enthusiasts, mushrooms, oh those mushrooms, perfectionistic coffee bean roasters, rice farmers, wacky soy, fermented goodness, vegan waffles, food that makes my whole body dance, crazy-good vegan dessert makers, inspired food farmacists, loving chefs, tahini, markets, coconuts, vibrant weeds and edible flowers.
GRATITUDE FOR ALL OF THE THINGS THAT ENABLE THIS AMAZING YEAR OF WORK-TRAVEL-LIFE-GROWTH
Air waves, Technology, Likes, Shares, Kind Words, Encouragement, Inspiration, Admiration, Motivation, Courage, Stepping up, Laughter, Trust, Knowledge, Naivety, Baby Steps, Core Values, Visions, Dreams, Daring, Fear, Doing it anyway, Relaxation, Breathing, Afternoon naps, 5 minutes, 3 minutes, Bullet trains, Scooters, generosity of strangers, abundance, lessons, pain, tears, softening, emotions, silence, time, hands, health, healing, weakness, strength, balance, imbalance, boundaries pushed, google translate, laughter, persistence, wonder, flow, release, networks, trades, drivers, creators, entrepreneurs, factory workers, independents, independence, freedom, choice, destiny, unfolding and beauty. Gratitude. Love. Life.
I give gratitude for all of Life.
I give thanks for being. For your being. For my being. For all things being.
I give thanks.
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