Now, where did I leave that?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Giving Thanks

Do you ever catch a recurring theme out of the corner of your eye? Maybe you're bringing in groceries and catch a glimpse of shirttail as it disappears behind a tree. Perhaps it flits past your window just as you look up from your desk. Or you're outside watching the sky at sunset, hear a rustle in that pile of leaves, and it's gone. And yet, each time you spy juuust enough to recognize and name it. In this particular case, its name is Gratitude. Suddenly a call to this particular grace is appearing like pumpkins in October, glowing without a word, waiting peacefully if not patiently for me to sit up and heed the call. There was this post by one of my favorite bloggers. There was an invitation in my email inbox for another 21 day meditation challenge (I admit, i never get farther than a week and a half, but this invitation came at just the right time) dedicated to 21 days of....gratitude. I was working on a post for Sagewomon blogs on resolutions for the spiritual new year, and the one that was most insistent on being included was--come on, say it with me--gratitude.

I like to think I'm good about being grateful. But when I'm being honest, maybe I'm sometimes a tad cursory about it, flipping off a thank you in the same vein as saying "have a nice day" to someone when you honestly couldn't care less about that person's day....not that you wish them a bad one, just....not invested in whether their day is good, bad or indifferent.  I've never been all that fond of Thanksgiving day, believing that what we learned about it in grade school 'history' class was a revisionist fable, and self-righteously declaring that we shouldn't need a government-appointed day to give thanks. But November really is a big lead-up to that day; it permeates the air like wood smoke this time of year. So it seems I need to take the not-so-subtle hint and take some serious time to revisit gratitude, to learn from Kelly at Minding My Nest, to take part in the (free)
21 Day Gratitude Meditation Challenge, and work on honing general thankfulness into something rich, deep and tangible, to experience Gratitude as a state of grace, and share it with you, if you'll allow me to.

Yesterday's meditation thought  (please note; you can pick it up at any time, even if you 'missed' the first day or two or ten...) was "With profound gratitude, I live my purpose." Well, this may not be the most thankful of thoughts, but as soon as I heard that, I was in a tizzy.  Purpose?!  Live my purpose?! Not by a long shot, buster! What I do to make a living is most definitely not my purpose and I'm not doing it with gratitude, that's for dang sure! 

Sigh. There goes the enlightenment train, speeding away from the station, me waving my arms like a fool as I run and trip along the tracks behind it.

But then my brain stopped clamoring. I let myself take in the glorious photography that accompanied the meditation, let the words roll over me, and then, like a butterfly landing in my open palm, I knew. I knew what I've known since I was--seriously, not making this up--eight years old. My purpose is a version of translation and expression: observing and taking in the world around me, processing it and then expressing it in a way that lets others--even just one person--recognize it & think that's what I felt/saw/thought but didn't know how to say! Forgive me if that sounds like hubris, because it isn't meant to be. I want to meant to be....a voice. I judge it, belittle my efforts, hide from it, but that is my purpose. And today, with profound gratitude, I'm claiming my purpose. Living it will come, perhaps in baby steps, but owning it here and now is worthy of heart-felt thanks.

How about you? Interested in sharing this gratitude journey? What is your purpose, and are you living it yet? 


kelly said...

this is so lovely. yes, gratitude changes everything. so touched to know that part of my story resonated with you. thank as always, for your support and heartfelt comments. xoxo

Dawn Zichko said...

Thank you for sharing this Gratitude Meditation series. It's just what I need right now.

Ashling said..., thank you. We walk very outwardly different paths, but your words so often resonate with me.

@Dawn...serendipity is a beautiful thing!

Our Neck of the Woods said...

I love your quote - "With profound gratitude, I live my purpose." I will try to be better at this! Your posts are always so beautifully written and I feel inspired when I visit here. Thank you for the lovely words :)

Linda said...

This was so good....I am with Our Neck of the Woods your quote was right on. I have been working on gratitude for a while but feels like it is becoming stale...This snapped me up a bit.... too often our gratitude is external of ourselves...this brings it back to our souls... time to take a different approach to my purpose...... Thanks Ashling...
Love your writing!! :D

XO Linda

Cait said...

Haven't seen your posts for some time now; was very glad to see this one. You are such a fine writer with such a strong and unique voice! And you always choose such timely subjects.

Maggie said...

Beautiful words Ashling. Your writing is so inspiring. Thank you.