“Thank you, more please.”

This past full moon, I can’t get over this feeling of deep gratitude. It is a common subject around yogis, but I don’t think it’s possible to overdo it.

Being grateful, as I define it, is observing something in life and responding with a heartfelt “thank you, more please.” For me, there are few things that can inhibit gratitude in my life, but they sneak up from time to time. Expectation keeps me from realizing gratitude, because even if I am getting what I expect, I do not value it as much as I would had it come unexpected. If I make expectations and things arrive differently than expected, it is difficult to foster gratitude.

If there is something that I want, like the perfect piece of furniture to appear on craigslist, in my area, and in my price range, it will require some amount of patience until I see what I am looking for. If I am willing to be flexible about my wants, my needs are met more easily. If I expect perfection, I am probably going to be disappointed.

Today, I felt like I wanted a respite. Something small, like two hours of alone time to devote to reading, walking my dog, or something restorative. Fortunately my body obliged by coming down with a stuffy head cold, and I am grateful for the opportunity to wear my woolly socks and sweaters, and drink as much tea as I please. How would I feel if I were ungrateful for the head cold? I would be so spiteful and loathe my body to the point of forgetting how comfortable it is to run a hot shower and curl up in bed with my dog and a steamy mug. I wouldn’t be able to fully appreciate my respite, even though it is what I need and want. Of course, I never needed or wanted a head cold, but why not be grateful for it, as it is the gateway to a time of rest and exhalation. When I feel better my body will inhale and I will be well rested to meet life head on.

My capacity for feeling gratitude expands when I feel nourished emotionally, physically, and spiritually. A sign that I am feeling nourished is overwhelming gratitude for my self, others, and the beautiful world we inhabit. Ever feel like there’s just an itch, or something nagging at you? If I’ve got a thorn in my side and I can’t work my way around it, I see it as a sign that I need to give myself something. Sometimes it doesn’t even matter what it is, I just need to participate in the act of giving to myself.

When I give something to myself, I immediately feel this childlike glee. It almost feels like mischief. When I notice something so wonderful that I want to share it, but there is no one around to share, I tell myself it’s for me and carry the moment in my mind as a happy gifted memory. It isn’t anything tangible, and it isn’t something “big.” It’s the intentional saying “this is for me,” that feeds my heart.

What can we give ourselves today? I’ve got my mug of tea and cool fall breeze and a healthful intention to enjoy my recovery from this cold. I found a meditation from Yoga International that is specifically geared towards finding gratitude. If you give yourself a moment to enjoy it, feel the gift to yourself and let it fill up your whole being. When your cup fills to the brim, let it spill over and share your gifts with others, too. Cheers!

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