Grateful to be or happy or happy to be grateful?
I am feeling very fortunate in this moment, a deep kind of at-the-core happiness and sense of belonging… very grateful to feel such a palpable connection to my world-wide brothers and sisters, all the creatures in this world, and the beauty that is nestled everywhere…when I am aware of it, and even when I am not. As the title states, I have been pondering whether I am grateful because I am happy or if I am happy because I am grateful. I suspect that it’s a bit of the first, and a heftier portion of the second.
I started out this summer with some renewed and sincere intentions: to be more present and grateful for the good that is available and present in each moment (even if not at first glance), to scrutinize the thoughts or assumptions that come to me — to be aware of those that need a shift, a reframing, or a fresh and healing perspective (or even if they need to be 86’ed completely), AND to include EVERYone in my scope (people, animals and environments) in the tender and potent embrace of brotherhood and sisterhood, a ‘hood that is parented by a Truth that is ever-so-wise and far-reaching.
Ample opportunities have SO been in my path this summer. In part, because I was physically journeying to some different areas…yes, across the big seas, to take part in several weeks of wholesome and mindful community activities with a focus of truth seeking and finding. And also because I allowed myself to be truly free and open to be LED …to whatever situations presented themselves where I could feel the “roundness” that many Native American stories tell of — the roundness of the lessons and cycles of nature, the roundness of our true connection with all beings, the roundness of oneness that includes us ALL in an ongoing, never-ending (round) care, wisdom, understanding, and compassionate love.
I have felt (and feel) such gratitude for a definite opening in thought, a humble desire to daily deep-SEE dive into what I inherently know is true about me, about others, about life and about a Love that holds us all in right-here-right-now roundness, completeness.
There are moments when I am in my kayak surrounded (and feeling hugged) by huge kelp beds, seals, sea otters and dolphins mindfully about their daily routines, while they are also rolling, porpoising, playing and showing all the signs of loving life — being embraced by Life with an uppercase “L”. In those moments I feel such a sweet camaraderie, a deep familiarity…and supreme thankfulness that literally buoys me up. In those moments (and many others, too) I feel NO doubt that we share the same Source and purpose to BE who we are. And that the way we live and love in our lives is a support to each other, a way of genuinely loving each other, feeling our kinship with each other. And there is such a powerful sweetness in that. Also, I recognize that there is something much bigger and more encompassing than humans being kind and loving…there is a circle of love, a source of love, on which we all can depend…and share.
I see too, that we are ALL learning, and often from one another if we are open to that. (More gratitude here, mixed in with that happy joy!) I watch the seals almost every day from where we are camped as they lurch up onto a wooden float that is their resting and community mingling area, that also serves as a boat launch. It is often quite a hefty leap up (sometimes as much as a 7-foot leap) depending on how full of other brother-sister seals it is. I watch them show SUCH determination and stamina, even when they don’t make it again and again, until they do…wow! And also watch them learn how to snuggle and fit in with the seals already perched there, who from time to time forget that they don’t have assigned seat numbers from which to push others away. I notice that I am loving watching them weave their mistakes with their learning without attachment or judgment …and that I am learning to do that better with people, too. Ah, the sweet patience that just comes when I/we are tuned into that infinite source of patience and the happiness that often comes with learning, whose ever learning it may be. I have a growing faith that EVERYone wants to be wise and good and loving, and that we all really ARE those things…we just forget sometimes, or get stuck in a cloud of emotion or misguided perception or information. But the truth is still the truth!
It might be taking me too many words as I travel this bloggy path to get to where I mean to go. I think the following is really what is here for me right now AND was the seed and stem of my present gratitude and happiness: I decided with vigor at the beginning of this summer to find EVERY little and big thing I could be grateful for and to acknowledge each one right then and there…and to know that all these things have been here all along, waiting to be perceived with a view of gratitude that makes everything beautiful, pure and connected. And also that it is much easier to be patient with others and be joyful with others because I know that I don’t have to muster all that up in a human way. But that I (and all) are included in this very roundness and infiniteness of patience, beauty and joy, with no breaks-in-the-links of it …and that knowing this emits such hope and trust…enough to make worries, unpleasant memories, and challenges that seemed hard to see over, drift away like steam or a gentle cloud…leaving the expanse of a true-blue sky and a pure and unbounded us…ALL of us!
grateful – happy – grateful – happy – grateful – happy – grateful – happy -grateful – happy!
Tien Stone Langlois, Scholars Together Learning Community