3 Lessons Steeped In Gratitude

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I feel it here. The heaviness. There is an anchor in my heart. I do not know if it is because there is no majestic, breathtaking view on the horizon or if it is because I grew up here, suffered tragedy at the hands of these streets or if it is because my life here is serious as well as joyful…

In Sedona, I felt purely light. Is that because I do not have any attachments there? While there, I read in the newspaper an account of a woman who had taken her own life. She had shot herself and then called 911. Although the story was tragic, the details were almost comical, as her whereabouts were reportedly near Windsong Rd and Lyrical Lane. Sadly, she died on the way to the hospital. Reading this seemed surreal to me. It felt reminiscent of something you’d read on The Onion. I also found it baffling that someone could live in such austere beauty and still find life unbearable.

And then I came home. There is beauty all around me everyday, not in the form of mountains colliding with the heavens, per se. But it’s still there. It’s in the smiles that bathe me after class, in the touching notes and texts I receive almost daily, in the giggle of my baby girl and the chuckle of my almost man-child-son and the gruff chortle of my brusque, handsome husband. And although I can feel the weight of the energy here, I can also feel the potential for glory.

I believe in life. I believe in love. I believe in showing up, cloaks tossed aside, heart open wide and nothing but love to offer. I am in gratitude today. Huge, overwhelming tides of gratitude. Steeped in it. My trip to Sedona just cemented my grounding.

These are further elements of my foundation, created in gratitude:

1. Do not attach self worth to acceptance — When you are fervently practicing gratitude, you do not bother to attach your self worth to… anything. You understand, through your gratitude, that life is to be savored and that we are endlessly worthy of love. Therefore, I do not need anyone else’s approval. This holds true with my writing, my teaching, my dreams, my… everything. I have frequently told others who have asked that for every one conference or festival I am accepted to, there are at least 10 to 20 rejections. I knew I was making progress when these rejections came into my in box and I felt nothing — no shame, no sorrow, no disappointment. It was as though I was receiving an unnecessary email from JCrew. I simply thought, Oh well. I’ll try again next year. And moved on. And then stopped and puzzled at how unaffected I was briefly. Then moved on. Next! This was a triumphant moment. I had no attachment to the results of my endeavors. I was simply trying because I can’t imagine not trying. I so love what I am doing that I am compelled to keep expanding because expanding feels soooooo goooood. For this, I am grateful.

2. Do not make life a popularity contest — This was a big one for me. I’m used to being popular. My one phase of life where I wasn’t popular was really an experiment in being un-popular, as well as a temporary phase of self destruction brought on by an overwhelming need to experience self love and ultimately the greatest thing that I’ve ever created, yet, I digress. Recently, I was about to publish something. And there was this  voice lurking in the back of my mind saying: People are not going to like what you have to say here, Rebecca. And after much debate and many sleepless nights, I came to the conclusion: Oh well. This is not a popularity contest. Truthfully, if I am being my fearless self, there will be people who do not care for what I have to say. Then, so be it. I must be honest. There is no other way. Even if I don’t look good in the process, honesty is more important than vanity. And here we are… In gratitude.

3. Just be yourself fearlessly — Anita Moorjani’s words, sung by my soul daily. Be yourself fearlessly. The more I embrace this, the easier life becomes. The more I allow myself to be and I stop worrying about doing, striving, achieving, the less effort things require and the more dreams simply just come to me. It’s truthfully delightful to play with. I encourage you to try it out. It’s a highway to gratitude for life itself.

Ok, so that’s my robust wisdom from Sedona. Be grateful. Above all else, gratitude. Gratitude leads to courage. Courage makes vulnerability possible. From here, dreams are borne. Such a magical place.

Much love to the poor woman who took her own life and her family. Much love to us all.