steps to gratitudeSo here we are, a few days before Thanksgiving in the United States and so taking this moment while reading these words to really consider what you are thankful for. When we think of what we’re thankful for we often think of the light in our lives. Who and what represents the light in our lives?

The poet Hafiz writes in his poem “It Felt Love”:

How did the rose
Ever open its heart
And give to this world
All its beauty?
It felt the encouragement of light
Against its being,
Otherwise,
We all remain
Too frightened

This is so true. It becomes easier to open up and reveal our own gifts to this world when we feel positive loving encouragement within. While for some the holidays are a time of connection and being with family and friends, for others it’s a source of stress only reinforcing a sense of loneliness and difficulty.

Nevertheless, here is an opportunity to do a practice inspired by this poem that can help us cultivate a sense of gratitude and lovingkindness during this time.

Here is short practice to feel that encouragement of light during this time:

  1. Think of a person or animal who represents light, who represents a loving and kind presence in your life. This can be a good friend who is alive, maybe someone who has passed away, a pet, or maybe a spiritual figure such as the Dalai Lama, Jesus, or even the hand of God.
  2. Take a moment to imagine that presence here, with you, looking into your eyes.
  3. Now imagine that person saying to you, “May you be safe and protected from inner and outer harm,” “May you be happy,” “May you be free from fear,” “May you be healthy in body and mind.” You can also create your own wishes and aspirations here.
  4. Now turn toward that person and say that with the same intention to them.
  5. Now imagine your family and friends with you (those who you feel difficulty with and those who you feel more ease with) and with intention, saying those same words.

Take a moment to just feel into how you are doing and whatever is there, just letting it be.

We all know that Thanksgiving is just a reminder to cultivate gratitude in our lives. May this be a springboard for you to cultivate this sense of gratitude and lovingkindness, which even though it may come with some uncomfortable feelings at times, can be a source of much psychological healing and feelings of well-being.

I deeply thank all of you who have been following the Mindfulness and Psychotherapy blog posts and for interacting below as your posts truly create a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

 


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    Last reviewed: 22 Nov 2010

APA Reference
Goldstein, E. (2010). 5 Steps to Gratitude: Hafiz. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 24, 2014, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/mindfulness/2010/11/5-steps-to-gratitude-hafiz/

 

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