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Updated: Jan 8

Thursday, January 6, 2011

I'm taking 2 courses this winter to inspire myself on many levels.  One course is about Cultivating Gratitude.  The other course is on line with Eoin Finn's 30 day Blissology Challenge - it is a 30 day yoga, meditation intensive that he has created and has offered out into the world starting on Jan 10 this year ( Both courses are gifts to myself and I am learning so much as I move my way through them.  

In the first course on gratitude we've been exploring whether gratitude can become our basic attitude towards life.  It is a good question and a good challenge to consider.  We've been talking about ways of cultivating and sustaining gratitude.  One teacher shared the possibility that being surprised can be a foot in the door to cultivating gratitude.  "Surprises are no more than the fullness we call gratefulness."  I love thinking about these kinds of ideas.  For a couple of days I've been observing my own life carefully and paying attention to surprises that happen and how I feel.  It is a good exercise.  I am learning that I have lots of surprises in my life. I was surprised to discover an amazing Japanese Restaurant in Bracebridge the other day.  I'm always grateful for good food.  I was surprised to learn how good the skate skiing is at the Pinestone right now.  I haven't skied there in years, and am so grateful to be able to take our exchange student over there as she learns how to ski.    My 10 year old daughter surprises me every evening.  A couple of years ago, out of the blue (it might have been when I started working 2 nights a week), she started to faithfully (never misses a night) put my toothpaste on my toothbrush for me.  I come home from work, or I get up from the computer or reading a book and go to do my teeth and every night my toothbrush sits there with paste on - ready to go.  And every night I feel my heart get bigger from this little surprise that she leaves me.  And I feel so grateful for her.    Today I was surprised when a big flock of redpolls returned to our feeder.  I had begun to think we might not get them this year.   Having these joyful little creatures around our home always makes me feel grateful.

My yoga practice over the years has certainly surprised me many times.  A little increase in flexibility, a chronic pain that go's away, a momentary feeling of such deep peace and ease in my body and mind.  These little surprises are big gifts that leave me feeling grateful and inspired to continue on with the practice. I think paying attention to surprises is a good practice for me, and  I will continue it for the entire  year and I'll just  see how my life unfolds - on the mat and off the mat.  

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