A Meditation on The Grateful Despites.

The Grateful Despites Meditation
((Sitting up nice and tall, soften your jaw, let your breath get nice and easy. Start to peel through the layers of you that relate to everyone and everything else. Like you take off your hat and your coat, peel through the layers of you that relates to family, friends, places of responsibility, until you’re left with you relating to you, right here and now.  From that space dip your toes into that well of gratitude for all that makes it possible for you to be here. ))
Gratitude for my physical health; despite aches, pains, and frustrations with my body, I am healthy and strong enough today to show up for 3 minutes. Gratitude for my mental health; despite anxiety, stress, and conflict in my life, I was able to make the decision to be here and follow through on that decision. I am showing up. And gratitude for any sense of spiritual health; that despite some really hard days, maybe grief and depression, there was somehow enough levity, enough hope and confidence in this practice to pull myself off the couch, away from the computer and show up.  With all that hope and resilience that is strong in me, I send out love, hope, and courage to the people and places, and all the situations struggling for such health today; even and especially if I feel like one of them.
November begins the time of year that we are encouraged to be grateful for what we have. If we are fortunate enough, we are asked to give money to support those less fortunate. While I am all for generosity and a fairer distribution of wealth, the many requests for money can often widen the already deep divide between those who are asked to give and those who are assumed to only receive; “the poor and less fortunate”. With that divide comes this notion that if you are more fortunate then you have nothing to complain about or that your concerns are less significant compared to other people.  We compare our suffering to others, as if that makes us feel better somehow; “what I am dealing with is nothing compared to that”.  While this might be very true in some ways, in the sport of competitive suffering everyone loses. Not only that but it also diminishes our common humanity; we all know and experience suffering, regardless of where we perceive ourselves to be on the fortunate spectrum. Being able to recognize our common humanity seems to be the only way to expand our compassion and rebuild our community.

For the whole month of November I am inviting the Daily Bread Yoga community to  practice The Grateful Despites Meditation and 3 minutes of sacred silence, every day. AND to commit $1 a day to the local food pantry at Grace Lutheran Church, Champaign, for the Yoga Love Raiser (annual fund-raiser for each congregation in partnership with Daily Bread Yoga).  So, you can also say “I’m grateful that despite feeling really anxious about money, I am able to give one dollar (50 cents, or a quarter!) today to support the work of the food pantry.”.

Why only 3 minutes of sacred silence? Because it is three times better than zero minutes.  And also not soooooo much time that you can’t fathom how you would squeeze one more thing on the Should List.  And really, I don’t want it to be something that you should do, at all. To me 3 minutes feels so deliciously spacious. It is a breath of fresh air and it is achievable. I can do it. I use the clock on my phone. I set it for 3 minutes and then it goes off when time is up so I don’t have to watch the clock. I have set a specific time to do my Grateful Despites & 3 minutes. I will do it just before going to bed — but not in bed. I think it will be good to have the Grateful Despites and sacred silence be on the tip of my tongue as I get ready for sleep. It might work better for you around 2:3op.m. when you start to get sleepy (or is it just me?), maybe in the morning, or when you arrive at work. Make it work for you.

If you want to participate in the 3 minutes for $30days, I ask you to “register” with me. Commit! Tell me that you are doing it and I will include you on the team of people and we will hold each other accountable. If you are not from the Champaign-Urbana area but still want to participate and have some community support — then write me and I will include you! We can use all the momentum towards compassion that we can get! Tell me the name of the food pantry that you will be supporting. It’ll be AWESOME.

How about it? Are you in?! I hope so.

Peace on your head, you.



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