What is bringing me joy right now?
I'm sat in a small town in the North coast of Wales called Criccieth. I found a small Christian community centre 'the nest' on the high street. There are teenagers hanging out in the room, hearing their conversations is joyful, entertaining. The silence when they leave is also joyful. Walking today along the rocky cliffs and sandy coasts. In the stormy winds, everything feels magical. Fluffy dogs, Hana and Chloe who I am living in a moving community with. Sofas, Cups of tea, the generosity of people we meet (being offered multiple places to stay, food, showers, songs). Receiving so many blessings in the night. Having completed my Awakening Joy Training, but still holding myself accountable to finish the blog posts, i like the sense of duty and comittment.
“The great open secret of gratitude is that it is not dependent on external circumstance. It’s like a setting or channel that we can switch to at any moment, no matter what’s going on around us”- Joanna Macy
Gratitude is a practice, its a cultivation, and a mind inclination. When we look for blessings in our lives, it is possible to find them and often its possible in even the most challenging times.
If I'm having a bad day, or week, or month, and i choose to create a small amount of space to look for blessings, for things i feel grateful for, it always seems possible. It's definitely not always easy to carve this space out when i'm not feeling great or my mind is contracted, and sometimes its the last thing i want to do, but its possible, and it feels good to know that.
Practising gratitude is like training a muscle, the more we cultivate gratitude, the more we notice blessings, the more gratitude will arise. And when we practice, if we settle into the bodily feelings that come with gratitude, notice them, let them percolate, we get familiar with those too, and they become easier to access.
Think of something, someone you feel grateful for..... what happens in your body?
Below is a drawing of what happened in my body when i thought about someone i felt grateful for.
PRACTISING WITH GRATITUDE
Three Gratitudes - By CarRie Newcomer
Every night before I go to sleep
I say out loud
Three things that I’m grateful for,
All the significant, insignificant
Extraordinary, ordinary stuff of my life.
It’s a small practice and humble,
And yet, I find I sleep better
Holding what lightens and softens my life
Ever so briefly at the end of the day.
Sunlight, and blueberries,
Good dogs and wool socks,
A fine rain,
A good friend,
Fresh basil and wild phlox,
My father’s good health,
My daughter’s new job,
The song that always makes me cry,
Always at the same part,
No matter how many times I hear it.
Decent coffee at the airport,
And your quiet breathing,
The stories you told me,
The frost patterns on the windows,
English horns and banjos,
Wood Thrush and June bugs,
The smooth glassy calm of the morning pond,
An old coat,
A new poem,
My library card,
And that my car keeps running
Despite all the miles.
And after three things,
More often than not,
I get on a roll and I just keep on going,
I keep naming and listing,
Until I lie grinning,
Blankets pulled up to my chin,
Awash with wonder
At the sweetness of it all.
Gratitude as a movement away from Capitalism
I was reading part of the chapter on gratitude: "What gets in the way of gratitude?" I had a few responses; capitalism was one of them and felt like an important one. In the AJ book - the responses to this question involve words like:
"Rushing around, fatigue, goal, achievement, productively, to do's."
One person said:
"There just doesnt seem to be enough time to smell the roses."
Those of us who live in capitalist societies are trained to keep going, our productivity is the most important thing, and is how we are accepted (or not) by society, so it makes sense that our goals, to-do lists and lack of time mean we don't/can't/won't stop to smell the roses. We are often taught we don't have enough and to be unhappy with what we do have, we learn to be ungrateful. If practising gratitude and cultivating Joy are supporting us to find fulfilment in our lives, then i believe they are anticapitalist movements.
1. Go back through the third AJ training call and write up notes.
2. Type up notes in my book from the fourth theme: Joy in difficult times, do some drawings for that post.
Being warm and dry, being able to question my life and what I am doing and whether i want to do it, the people in my life who are deeply spiritual, being around them and seeing how this feeds my spirituality, feeling confident in my work, churches, creativity, singing and making up songs, mushrooms and sheep and funny conversations, cars, Buddhism.