Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Feast on Your Life: A Moment to Give Thanks

Thanksgiving is a time of open heartedness, a day when we come to the communal table with generous hearts and share in the bounty of life. 

As we reflect on our life with gratitude, we should be mindful to begin with the gift of our own life, a gift that allows us to be a blessing unto others. 

Life is a feast of splendid opportunities to give thanks, not for what we have but for who we are. The Buddhist teaching on the perfection of giving begins with the practice of self-compassion.

The notion of compassion and generosity beginning with yourself is an invitation the poet Derek Walcott extends in his poem: Love After Love. He reminds us to "greet yourself in your own mirror and give back your heart to yourself."

Too often in life, we are so busy doing, attending to the needs of our children, our partner, responding to demands of work, forgetting our own needs. Taking a moment for ourselves seems selfish on a day perceived for giving to others. 

On a day most women spend whipping up a storm for others, it seems fitting to offer this reminder to be grateful for our own lives, to awaken the awareness that as vessels of the Divine, we have the sacred obligation to replenish the spring from which we draw our daily strength, bringing a sense of wholeness to all aspects of our lives.

Tibetan Buddhist nun, Pema Chodron, teaches that "every moment is an opportunity for awakening." To be fully present in your own life is a conscious exercise of connecting to the "stranger who was yourself." 

May today awaken you to the possibilities of the feast that is your life so you can bring that abundance of grace into the lives of others.

Love After Love by Derek Walcott