Sunday, November 2, 2014

Breathe in Gratitude

Our minds and hearts go to a sense of gratitude this month, for November is the month of Thanksgiving.  As I get older, I find myself trying to devote more and more time to being in a state of thanksgiving, not reserving it for one day in November. A few years ago, I started a practice of listing three things for which I'm thankful when I awaken each morning and three more things before I close my eyes at night. Hard as it can be at times, I am trying to emulate the quote I read on Facebook a while back attributed to Henry David Thoreau: "I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual...."  I think there is real peace and even a power in making the decision to give thanks every single day and as often as possible throughout the day. My pastor recently gave me information about something called The Examen, a spiritual practice developed by St. Ignatius of Loyola some 400 years ago that features a mindful, daily examination of our deepest feelings and desires. As part of the practice, one is to ask God to draw attention to the moment for which he or she was most grateful and then breathe in the gratitude in order to feel once again the life-giving properties from that moment. According to further online reading I did about The Examen, the concept calls us to reflect on our day with gratitude. So, this month, I will breathe in and breathe out my gratitude and I will fine-tune my focus to the many blessings I'm given each and every day.