I’m writing to you from the Andes Mountains in Sacred Valley, Peru. It’s been a week of adventures in nature, yoga, meditation, home grown food and camaraderie, all as part of a group yoga retreat at Samadhi.
The theme for the week has been gratitude. And wow, so much to be thankful for… I’ve never seen so many stars or breathed such pure air or been in such an ancient place.
There were more than a few hiccups to deal with to get here and not everything goes smoothly when traveling or being a part of a group. But the magic of the mountains are a gift that remind me to shift to gratitude.
Can you list 5 things you are thankful for today? Stop reading, close your eyes and take a deep breath (if you really want to amp up the energetic impact put a hand on your heart) and think about what you are grateful for. Relax your face muscles, especially your jaw… are you grateful for this breath? Is there a kindness from an stranger or family member to acknowledge? A good meal? The sun? A cozy bed you’ve just gotten out of?
What blessings can you acknowledge… let the power of thankfulness fill you up!
Along with gratitude, our teacher said in one of our practices, “remember, this moment is impermanent. Everything is impermanent.” It has stuck with me this week: When I was climbing uphill on a hike with no shoes and lots of rocks (ouch!) or when I was in the biggest, coldest most luscious waterfall (please let me always remember the beauty)! Or when I was in the midst of the miraculousness that is Machu Picchu (really, how did they do this!!??)! And then hungry and tired on the way home because it required a van ride, then train then another bus (I just wanted a meal and a bed).
Good and bad. Comfort and discomfort. Peace and fear.
Moment to moment. Some minutes/years seem to last longer than others. But nothing is permanent.
This has got me thinking about how we get so caught up in what we are experiencing in THIS moment. But yet, by the very nature of the way time and life exists — something will change. A new “permanence” will come.
One of my favorite words is equanimity. It means the ability to maintain a sense of inner calm and strength, no matter what’s going one. For me, it’s something to strive toward. It’s challenging on a daily basis. Our culture values reaction and putting people in their place, which is the opposite of equanimity and being centered and more about ego and proving you’re right. Hence, why Facebook comments are a thing. I’ve never known anyone to say, “the comments made me feel so peaceful!”
I think gratitude can help to bring equanimity. Breath certainly can. Acknowledging impermanence is part of it, too.
The irony of it this message is that I’m writing about impermanence in the middle of a space that is incredibly ancient. But maybe that’s part of the message — our lives are less about the minute to minute stresses. Because if you’re caught up in that, then how do you have the energy to live a life that has a lasting impact?
My intention is to take the teachings and gifts that Peru has given to me and weave them into my life. A more regular meditation practice for sure!
May you turn to gratitude daily. May you remember this moment is impermanent. May you know and feel how deeply grateful I am for you.