As you all know, I am participating in Sara Bessey's 40 Simple Practices for Lent. Today, day 10, is 40 things, experiences, or people I am thankful for. This day comes at a time when I have been feeling the pull back to my book: Grateful Heart, 100 themes on gratitude.
This day feels like a gift to bring myself back into conversation with my book, Grateful Heart, whose rough draft was finished December 31, 2019. What is left is for me to take the hand-written rough draft and type it into my computer, editing and creating the draft I will send to an editor friend, a pastor friend and a writer friend.
Grateful Heart arose during a silent retreat while I was praying and listening to what to do with the quarter-time I am not pastoring. (I am a 3/4 time pastor at the moment.) This book arose while walking with the Sacred. Teach gratitude as a spiritual practice. Offer a tool that will help people create a spiritual practice of gratitude. This book is aimed at doing both. Below I will follow the first 40 themes of my book, offering a gratitude for each them.
1 - I am grateful for my life -- for all the ups and downs that have brought me to where I am. Looking back, I would not remove any of the obstacles, challenges, dark-times. They all brought vital gifts and learnings for me. Without them I would not be who I am today. I am grateful for who I have become.
2 - I am grateful for that there is a powerful Compassionate Presence in this Universe that I refer to as the Sacred, God, Christ, Spirit. I am grateful that my connection to the Sacred entices and invites me to healing, growth, becoming a better human, deepening compassion and more.
3 - I am grateful for prayer, for a way to have conversation and be in relationship with the Sacred. I am ever changed each time I sit silently listening, each time I walk communing with Creation, each time I speak into the Love that surrounds me.
4 - I am grateful for my body and holds my spirit and soul. I am grateful for the gifts it gives me: walking, exercise, touch, stillness, and more.
5 - I am grateful for each of my five senses this morning:
5b - Sight: the beauty that greeted Pippa and I as dawn awakened creation
6 - Hearing: the sounds of the birds singing at the feeders
7 - Smell: the scent of chai tea awakening and feeding my soul. Pippa is grateful for the scents on the grass and rocks, her news...
8 - Taste: maple syrup that flowed over the french toast I made, sweetening and moisturizing it.
9 - Touch: I am grateful for the gentle awakening touch Pippa gives in the morning, leaning on my body awakening me, and for my hands that can pet and love on her.
10 - I am grateful for my intuition that is awakening in me a greater and deeper understanding of where my anxious-self connects in my body, when she arises, and what she needs to breath and be free.
11 - Body Communication: I am grateful for the way my body communicated that I needed to slow down, to rest, to stop over-working. I am not so happy how it did it, but that I was able to listen before I ended up in bed flat on my back.
12 - I am grateful for the nourishment Pippa finally ate this morning, for learning that with egg on her dry food she will eat and nourish herself.
13 - Sleep: I am grateful for a full nights sleep without disturbance.
14 - Movement: I am grateful for my personal trainer who has created core building exercises for me, arriving in my email each morning.
15 - Learning: I am grateful for the things I am learning about Pippa to help her with her anxiety. This morning I learned that going out before light creates anxiety for her. Going out after the sun has risen, when you can see the world creates a more relaxed enjoyable experience.
16 - Mindfulness: I am grateful for this Lenten practice that is creating a mindfulness in me regarding my anxious self, and that part of me (calling it after the flower essences that Pippa and I are taking) that Outbursts when overwhelmed or anxiety rises too much.
17 - Hobby: I am grateful for the fiber arts that I engage in: crocheting, weaving, knitting. They invite creativity and relaxation/meditation all at the same time.
18 - Accomplishments: I am grateful that for some reason I am not turning on my TV, an accomplishment I have been working on for months. With Pippa, with my intention of paying attention to my anxious self, the TV has needed to stay off. It seems to be a numbing agent, numbing me from myself, from my inner world, from healing and growth.
19 - Spiritual practices: I am grateful for Open the Door by Joyce Rupp. This devotional is the devotional that the small groups I lead at St Paul's are engaged in. It continues to invite me to open the door of my heart wider and wider.
20 - Spaciousness: I am grateful for the ways that a morning cup of chai tea, a meditative sit, and time standing and puttering around the yard (while Pippa does her thing) creates spaciousness in my morning.
21 - Sabbath: I am grateful that today is my sabbath and I get to take the pace I desire, the walks I want to take, read a good book, work on my book and more.
22 - Rest: I am grateful for a book, Saints for All Occasions, that gave me a spiritual and mental rest this past week, a rest that TV would not have given me.
23 - Stillness: I am grateful for the stillness of the early morning before anyone is up and moving; although Pippa is not so grateful for that stillness. It seems to make her jumpy.
24 - Generosity: I am grateful for the generosity of friends who have been present helping me teach Pippa good inside greeting and manners, as well as are helping me work with her on her leash.
25 - Creativity: I am grateful for the ways in which my Wednesday small group engaged Open the Door creatively, drawing and painting their doors and sharing those drawings and learnings.
26 - Laughter: I am grateful to have laughter back in my house. Pippa brings such joy and hilarity.
27 - Indulgence: I am grateful for the small indulgences I allow myself, especially my Honey Mamma's raw chocolate bars. These chocolate bars have supported me and freed me from sugar, giving me the chocolate that I so yearn for in a healthier way.
28 - Household tasks: Today is laundry day. I am grateful that I have a day when I can putter and do household tasks instead of trying to cram them into a busy schedule.
29 - Errands: I am grateful for the staff who have been helping me get all the stuff a dog needs.
30 - Tedious Tasks: I am grateful for the dishwasher that helps me keep my kitchen clean. I am also grateful for the ways in which Thich Nat Hahn's writing have reworked dishwashing to open me to its spiritual practice qualities.
31 - Job: I am grateful for the job of pastoring -- its many blessings and its many challenges; for the aspects I love (preaching, worship creating, small groups) to the aspects I do because it is part of the job (best practices, administration, currently financial/Trustee stuff).
32 - Work: I am grateful for the soul work that God has brought into my life, especially the books She has laid upon my heart: Grateful Heart, 4 Elements children's books, Animal Spirit Medicine Oracle Cards and book, Silent Retreat for Beginners, and more.
33 - Play: I am grateful that Pippa has become more comfortable and is playing with me now.
34 - Mountaintop of Yesterday was finalizing the adoption of Pippa. I am grateful for that!
35 - A moment of feeling cherished: Pippa licking me and smiling and wiggling with joy that I am her human.
36 - Low of the day (yesterday): Realizing that the place I adopted Pippa from really is not going to be able to help me with her behavioral reactive leash issues. Their behavioral person was no help. He had nothing to truly offer. It was frustrating. I am grateful that I asked, that I listened, that I spoke what I needed and that I asked for resources that will be helpful. This low of the day yesterday comes with a gratitude for voicing what I needed to voice in a compassionate gentle manner.
37 - Unexpected grace: I am grateful that I was able to be gentle with myself yesterday, bowing out of a previous engagement, allowing myself the space and time to settle in and finalize Pippa's adoption.
38 - Challenging moment: Pippa reacted outside on leash. I am grateful that the human she reacted to did not react back, but rather understood what was happening as I spoke "She is a rescue." I am grateful that I was able to handle Pippa without my anxiety going over the top. It rose. I breathed. Pippa calmed as we walked away. We are learning together. I am learning that outbursts within myself happen in those moments.
39 - Moment of balance, peace and harmony: snuggling up with Pippa at the end of the day, book in hand, warm herbal tea. Lovely.
40 - A moment with the Sacred: My small group did a visualization during our 7 minute sit. I am grateful for how the Sacred arrived and offered insight and healing in that short time.
What are your 40 gratitudes today?
I invite you to share them, or at least one, in the comments below....
Pastor Jocelyn Emerson weaves together her training as a Light and Energy worker, Reiki master, spiritual director, and Pastor with her life experience as a mystic and contemplative to offer a space of trust, safety, and honesty to support you on your life's journey.