Since we’re hosting family holiday extravaganza at our place this year, we went all out and pitched a tree in our living room. Our dog was ecstatic; you could see it in his crazy eyes as we hauledÂ the treeÂ up the stairs…”Big stick for ME?!” Once we got it into his head that, no, we weren’t going to let him tear and devour this $40 decoration, the trimming began!
Ornaments, ornaments, ornaments. Â One by one they were all unwrapped and hung just so. Last night with all other lights off, I stood in the hypnotic glow of the tree’s lights andÂ slowly circled around admiring those ornaments. Some have come from childhood, some as gifts from family and friends, and some from a decade-long tradition with me and my husband, Luke,Â taking turns picking a new one for each year. As I made my way around, each ornament pulled out a memory: the silly dog from The Grinch for the year we adopted our pooch; the icicle snowman I got from my Secret Santa,Â a boy I had a crush on in 4th grade; Spongebob Squarepants for the year Luke and I were married (the theme song had been stuck in his head and became a running joke); a big red house for the year we moved into our home…
I was lost in the glow, the memories, and my gratitude for it all when Luke yelled from another room asking what I was doing. “Looking at the tree ornaments,” I said. A hearty laugh bellowed from the bedroom. He’s not unfamiliar with my sometimes child-like whimsy, but it still catches him by surprise once in a while.Â
What had started as a trip down memory lane lead to heart-felt appreciation and continuedÂ on as I meditated before bed. I asked for a mantra or affirmation and was guided to repeat, “I live in gratitude.” Each time I repeated the phrase I focused on something new: physical well-being, specific friends and family, a functioning car, comfort, etc. I let each item thoroughly sink in before I moved on to repeat the phrase again.
I’m sure thisÂ isn’t a meditationÂ that is all that new, but I’ve never done it in a way that sunk in so effectively. For someone who can sometimes get lost in the darkness of winter, the lights and decorations buoy my spirits. Instead of holding it at a superficial level I unexpectedly tumbled into a much deeper reasoning and practice for upliftment.
As a cherry on top, a link to “Quotes on Gratitude” from Beliefnet lit my inbox this morning. I could only take the serendipity to mean this was all something to be shared. If you’re running around prepping for holidays or are feeling lost in the dark, take a minute to stand in the light andÂ find those things you’re grateful for. And if you have yet another minute to spare, share some of your gratitude and tell us all about it!
Follow this link for more ideas to bolster your meditation practice!