Everybody Loves Something: Gratitude 108 Offering

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“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.”     ~Meister Eckhart

Life’s circumstances have turned dark for many people. Just look around, if you dare. The world is at war. Economically, we’re in a terrible period. Global natural disasters are wiping out communities in seconds. People are lonely and alone. Uncertainty seems to be the common thread and so many are fearful for the future.

Is it possible to stay open and even, God for bid, grateful when there is so much suffering everywhere? I’m going to venture to say, “Yes.”

I’m even going to go out on a limb and say that without gratitude, there is no happiness in our life.

Gratitude, besides the fact that it makes us feel good, allows our present circumstance, whatever it is, to be enough. I know it’s easy to feel grateful when life is in flow, but what about all the other moments in between?

Some people I love dearly have recently lost their home. They had to pack up everything in a couple of days. It’s heartbreaking. Should they feel grateful? I don’t think it works quite like this. No one “feels” grateful that she has lost a job or a home or his health, or well …the list can go on and on.

I do not mean that if you’re mugged on the street you should smile and say, “Oh, I should be grateful for this,” before losing consciousness.

But there is a difference between feeling grateful and being grateful. Feelings arise from the way we look at the world; thoughts we have about the way things are, the way we think things should be, and the distance between these two points. This distance in between, which can sometimes seem like the size of the Universe, is what creates our suffering.

Being grateful means that ALL our situations teach us. When my daughter goes down with a migraine for the 108th time after eating wheat (the culprit that creates the migraines), she is the one who is teaching me. Perhaps my lesson is to access compassion regardless of whether she eats wheat. If the next time I can refrain from inferring anything that remotely resembles, “I told you so”, then I am learning. “If”…

My experience is that the teachers we need most are the people we’re living with right now. They come from the people and circumstances that don’t go away, the ones that trigger us: our mother, our husband, our ex-wife, our lover, our friend, our child, the person that we have to work with every single day.

Pema Chodron tells a story about the great Buddhist teacher Atisha who went to Tibet… he was told the people of Tibet were very good-natured and open and decides they won’t be irritating enough to push his buttons. So he brings along with him a mean-tempered, ornery Bengali tea boy. He believes this is the only way he can stay awake on his game. The Tibetans like to tell the story that, when he gets to Tibet, he realizes that he need not have brought his tea boy: the people there are not as pleasant as he has been told.

The Bengali tea boys are all of the people who are in our face and in our space, the ones we can’t escape.

I see lots of opportunities for feeling grateful in your near future. These people might even be considered your greatest teachers.

I can hear some of you saying, “You’re crazy. How can I possibly be grateful to my ex-husband who is completely insane and narcissistic? He’s my teacher? Not possible…”

But it is.

Gratitude can become a habit at any time by practicing “noticing.” Notice what you love and what you don’t love. Notice the places you get hooked. Mark them in your mind. Write them down. Become intimate with them.

Zen master Dogen said, “Enlightenment is to be intimate with all things.” Intimacy is about opening. The openings can be anything from a look in your child’s eye to the clear blue sky.

They could also be about how fast we habitually react in anger to the same people and circumstances over and over again.

It’s a practice, like most things, to keep noticing, and to continue moving toward what we love and appreciate. It’s a commitment to keep opening, despite the difficulties. I’m practicing keeping my mouth shut by noticing how quickly I want to react when my husband and my daughter start yelling. Gratitude abound…

So why 108? Here are a few nuggets to digest….

Many say there are 108 paths to God.

108 is a number known to be referring to spiritual completion;

1 stands for God or higher Truth, 0 stands for emptiness or completeness in spiritual practice, and 8 stands for infinity or eternity.

There are said to be 108 types of meditation.

In the Buddhist and Hindu world view, 108 is considered a most sacred number.

There are 108 names for Buddha.

108 is the number of beads on a Tibetan mala.

The Catholic rosary has 108 beads.

There are 54 letters in the Sanskrit alphabet. Each has masculine and feminine, Shiva and Shakti. 54 times 2 = 108.

Indian traditions have 108 dance forms.

Some say there are 108 Upanishads, texts of the wisdom of the ancient sages.

In the Jewish tradition, gifts and charitable donations are often given in multiples of the number 18, associated with the Hebrew word ‘chai(חי)’, meaning ‘alive’, ‘living’, or ‘life’.

108 is the Chinese number representing “man.”

In astrology, there are 12 houses and 9 planets. 12 times 9 equals 108.

The diameter of the Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Earth.

The distance from the Sun to the Earth is 108 times the diameter of the Sun.

The average distance of the Moon from the Earth is 108 times the diameter of the Moon.

The pre-historic monument Stonehenge is about 108 feet in diameter.

108 degrees Fahrenheit is the internal temperature at which  the human body’s vital organs begin to fail from overheating.

Whether or not you understand or agree to the significance of the number, when we ask ourselves to write 108 things for which we are grateful, something beautiful happens. What starts as a challenging task of creating a list of 108 thank you’s, can become a way of opening.

You may be thinking, “I’m miserable and there’s nothing to be grateful for,” or “How am I supposed to find one-hundred-eight things to be grateful for? I can barely think of ten.”

Start where you are. With ten, then twenty, then thirty, and before you know it…you’ve entered into a state of love.

In the name of giving thanks, my soul-sister, Sheryl Paul (a human I am MOST grateful for) and I invite you to join our Gratitude 108 offering on Facebook.

You can read Sheryl’s post here, http://conscious-transitions.com/gratitude-108-offering/ and then head over to our Gratitude 108 Offering Facebook page and add your list. Make your list of 108 thank you’s, and post it on our page.

https://www.facebook.com/gratitude108offering

Notice, and then give thanks to the places that move you and open your heart, and to the teachings that are being revealed through the hardship, and to the connections and moments that bring you into an attitude of gratitude.

After-all, everyone loves something!

Here’s mine (and in no particular order)…

1        All Things OM. God God God

2        Beloved Yogananda

3        My husband’s lovin – beyond anything I could imagine

4        My girl – my everything

5        Sauna meditation. My own Himalayas

6        I Love You, I’m Sorry, Please Forgive Me, Thank You

7        Om Tara

8        Sharing the deepest places with Sher Sher

9        Wisdom

10     Daily calls from my sister. A totem for sure

11      Unbreakable heart bond with my mom

12     Purpose

13     1111

14     The age old connection with Kells

15     Sister Kate’s fearlessness. Stunning!

16     Ms. Profumo – 4 years in and rockin

17     Erica’s dinners – my go to gal

18     Breakfasts with Jess, warrior goddess

19     Pema, Pema and more Pema

20    Council. We have a “legacy” now

21     My dad’s gentle kindness

22    Every one of my beautiful clients

23    Topaz, homeopath extraordinaire

24    Humility

25    The smell of incense in our home

26    David Whyte

27    Strong Arms – the majestic Oak Tree

28    Wisdom

29    Looking in each other’s eyes

30    Connection

31     Orchids in my home

32    The moments when all three of our moods are joyous

33    Being in service

34    Flavia’s Sourdough

35    Beatrice and the feel of my home on Tuesdays

36    Moments that I connect to how much I love my family

37    The light behind the dark

38    Rain. Please!

39    Mary Oliver

40    Eros turning on his back for me

41     Ava the rag doll

42    Thank you God for my great health

43    Transparent

44    All that menopause calls up

45    Ruby’s friendships

46    Crystal blue clear sky

47    Topanga canyon morning without traffic

48    Running into my arms when I pick her up

49    Soul sisters past and present: Sher, Kate, Jess, Erica, Tamara, Kim, Lisa, Catherine

50    Intuition

51     Jonny’s fires

52    What would Deena do?

53    Our hike

54    Soft cozy sheets

55    Hardship

56    Anything “real”

57    Great teachers like Shoshana

58    Lexi

59    Third eye awareness

60    The growing of our marriage and the strength of our commitment

61     Emotional intelligence

62    Writing. Finally

63    The Shela-Booth clan

64    When Ruby looks like Jordan – the family line

65    Witch Light

66    The five of us in our bed

67    That R still wants to connect fully

68    The memory of my Nana

69    My childhood home

70    Insurance Companies – reimbursement

71     Great writing – God of Small Things

72    Gorgeous bathrooms – soon

73    Homeopathic remedies – can’t live without my Aconite

74    Everything Anne Lamott

75    Laila loving Ruby

76    Red Tail Hawks and Owls

77    Anxiety – the great messenger

78    Having extra money

79    Beauty – the true kind

80    Hummingbirds at just the right moment

81     Juicy luscious sexual life – oh those moments…

82    Medicine laughter – a little more please

83    Connecting to possibility

84    Chenrizig

85    Apple Cider Vinegar baths

86    R’s love notes everywhere

87    Tibetan Prayer Flags

88    Malibu Sunsets

89    Insight

90    Living in Half full. Thank you Spirit

91     Curling Irons

92    Silence

93    Topanga

94    The wisdom of fertility and the feeling of helping others around pregnancy

95    Views of all kinds, especially “Right”

96    A full practice. Love each of them

97    Lipstick the color of blush

98    Like minded beings

99    Nine hours of sleep

100  Hong-Sau – Calming the Mind

101   Listening to R crack up

102  Kippy’s – OMG

103  When R appreciates my food

104  Meditation circle with Azita. All it takes is two

105  Thich Nhat Hanh – prayers on behalf of his health

106  My girl’s life without headaches

107  Chai Tea on a cold morning. Coffee who?

108  The precious moments of appreciating how absolutely blessed I am

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Deep, so deep and true! I loved reading this !!!

  2. Melissa Marx says:

    God I Love this..

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