With a humble heart, recognize all the gifts you have received. You receive at every instant; all the gifts you receive endlessly. Celebrate by honoring life. Life is precious, honor it, and it’s so short. -H.H. Sai Maa
As autumn begins to deepen, there is a rapid and distinct shift into what many of us know as “the holiday season.” On the surface, this is a time where we gather for huge parties and feasts, and are inundated by the constant impetus to consume, buy, and offer physical gifts to one another. On a deeper level, the natural world around us is moving into hibernation, and the human connection with the planet moves us to shift inward as well.
Humans have always had an intimate relationship with the planet and its seasons. The harvest season has always been a crucial time where life or death can hang in the balance. Though in the United States we have been told the somewhat mythical story of “the first Thanksgiving” with Pilgrims and Native Americans coming together to celebrate a bountiful harvest and their ability to survive the upcoming winter, this is not the first harvest celebration of giving thanks.
In Ancient Egypt, the god Min ruled over the fertility of the land. During the Festival of Min in the Fall, the statue of Min was carried out of the temple by the priests, and Min would ceremonially cut the first sheaf of grain to symbolize his connection between the gods, the land, and the people, and offer the grain to the god in sacrifice. In Ancient Greece, the festival of Thesmophoria was celebrated to honor the goddess Demeter (the goddess of Agriculture, fertility and the harvest) and her daughter Persephone, and was one of the most widely celebrated festivals in the Greek world. (If you don’t know the myth of Demeter, Persephone and the changing seasons, here is a short synopsis: Demeter and Persephone). The Jewish festival of Sukkot, in addition to honoring the 40 days the Israelites wandered in the desert, is also seen as a harvest festival, and is sometimes referred to as Chag HaAsif (חג האסיף, the “Festival of Ingathering”).
All these ancient cultures took time to recognize the changing seasons, the gift of food that would sustain them, as well as to honor the gods and goddesses who had bestowed these blessings upon them. To honor the divine, to offer gratitude and devotion to the Highest, has been an essential part of life for eons. Our connection to God was our connection to the source of life, and our deeper connection to it and practice of gratitude for this , has changed only superficially in thousands of years.
This Thanksgiving season, I invite you to welcome in the power of these ancient streams of devotion and gratitude to the divine – to connect with you ancestors and your tradition of thanksgiving and gratitude. Ancient temples and other vortices are still palpably powerful because the centuries of rituals of devotion and offerings have anchored that energy there. Tap into that and take a look around your world. What are you grateful for?
Daily Gratitude Practice
There have been numerous studies on the benefits of a daily gratitude practice. Gratitude can:
- make us feel happier
- inspire the people around us to feel more grateful and build stronger, healthier relationships
- push us to take better care of ourselves and make healthier choices
- make us less self-centered and more caring for those around us
Read about more benefits here: 31 Benefits of a Gratitude Practice
Recently, I notice that as I continue to make higher and higher goals, and do the work to manifest these goals and create new ones, that I often lose sight of how far I have already come and what I have received. To always be looking ahead, to always be elevating ourselves and reaching higher is something that Sai Maa has always encouraged us to do, has guided us in, and given us the tools to continue to succeed. As we walk forward and continue to expand in this life, I find that taking a moment to look back and see not only how far I have come, but also all the steps, leaps, tumbles (and faceplants) I’ve taken, gives me a new perspective and a new juice to continue to move forward.
Following this theme of continuous elevation, Lucinda Hanover invited us at a recent program in Denver, CO to move into an expanded practice of Gratitude 2.0. It is so easy to be grateful for all the good things in our life, but what about the places that feel difficult? What about the places that are contracted? Since, fundamentally, everything is energy, we are the flow of energy, whether we are expanding or contracting. The results that manifest from each, however, are quite different, as I am sure each and every one of us has experienced.
Do you have upcoming plans with your family that cause you to feel contracted? Maybe the relationship with your own body brings you there? What about the unexpected things that will undoubtedly come your way over the next few months? What if, instead of merely activating and experiencing gratitude as a feeling, we began to bring gratitude as an act of consciousness — what if we were, instead, embodiments of gratitude?
This holiday season, Lucinda’s Gratitude 2.0 practice invites us to bring through the quantum world an intention and direction of consciousness, moving this into those areas of contraction AS gratitude. As the powerful creators of our lives, we are also disciples and manifestations of consciousness itself, and can embody that consciousness and true gratitude in any space. Contracted OR expanded.
Take a moment and write down, from now until the end of December:
- Where do you have a propensity to contract? With whom?
- What do you have planned, that when you think about it you contract?
- What is the toughest one?
Keep this with you as you move through the next two months, and begin to find ways to bring this higher level quantum consciousness of gratitude into these places with your intention. Not as a feeling, or a “positive thought,” but a movement of energy. What changes for you?
This season of gratitude, may we all continue to embody and offer ourselves as gratitude for the distance we have come in life, the beauty of the journey, and the adventures that lie ahead… for ourselves and each other, for everything we have been given and received with open hearts. And may our blessings continue to multiply.