Her declaration caused me to reflect on a number of different levels. (I have a monkey mind, you see.)
First, how insightful for this person to be in touch with her feelings of lack and victimization. And then to be brave enough to share the emotion with someone else! Awareness and exposing our “shadow sides” to the light of day truly are foundations of personal transformation.
And then I thought about the sage advice of making lemons out of lemonade, which she had just done. She wasn’t giving up on the idea of a harvest celebration all together, but simply was depersonalizing it, allowing it to be someone else’s ritual in which she might take a secondary role.
And next I wondered how this whole situation might have yogic lessons for us all.
Why would the subject of my story not have felt thankful? Without knowing all the details (which really, we never fully are able to know), we could venture that life presented something that was not what she wanted, or in this case, a series of things that were not what she wanted. No wonder she felt like a victim! I could really feel for her.
And then I came upon a story of a yogini who, many years ago, worked in one of Mother Theresa’s missions. Every day on her way to the mission, she would pass by a very poor but pleasant woman who sat contentedly picking lice out of her daughter’s hair. Both of them were so full of joy that the yogini would arrive for her duties on top of the world. The yogini returned to New York City just in time for the winter holidays. She was shocked to hear a woman carrying several shopping bags from the best of shops screaming at her limo driver for parking too close to the curb. The juxtaposition of these two scenarios gave the yogini reason to pause. I have encountered similar ironies in my life as I am sure have you. We just needed to be reminded.
And today I chanced upon a video on YouTube that shows in another way how we need not be discouraged with our lot – difficulties can be overcome, although sometimes not as fast as we would like, or entirely in the way we envision. See this link for the video.
I do not mean to minimize anyone’s disappointment, loss or suffering. In fact, I believe that some people suffer great injustices and unbearable pain. And I also believe that repressing one’s emotions is unhealthy. But to truly feel what we are experiencing, fully and completely, and then open to a new way of perceiving one’s situation is a yogic way of living life, and a transformative one at that.
So, even the smallest possible thing for which to be thankful is worth the search. May your Thanksgiving be one in which you readily and easily are able to identify blessings for which to be grateful!
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“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is miracle.”
With santosa (contentment),