Make Gratitude Your Broccoli

"Broccoli and cross section edit" by Fir0002 - Own work. Licensed under GFDL 1.2 via Wikimedia Commons.
Broccoli and cross section edit” by Fir0002Own work. Licensed under GFDL 1.2 via Wikimedia Commons.

I feel like shit.

I’m just calling it like I see it.  I’m sad.  It is nearing the four year anniversary of my father’s death, and I’m finding myself launched head first into grief again.  As a yoga teacher, I usually speak to my current experience in hopes that others may gain some benefit, but I’m finding that my current experience is downright dreary.  Today, I just couldn’t think of a way to make a class centered around: “Don’t eat your weight in tortilla chips.” or “How to tip toe slowly so you don’t wake up your cat and husband for your 2:00 a.m. cry.”  or “That six hour long marathon of Kitchen Nightmares just might make you feel better.”

I have to feel this grief and ride the ensuing roller coaster.  Today, I was feeling empty, exhausted, and blank.  I was not too sure if I had anything to give my students or the world in general.  I called my husband in an attempt to reach out and find some comfort, and after a brief conversation over not anything in particular he mentioned that he would see me at home when I was done with class.  My felt my load lighten a little.  The thought that my husband and our cuddly cat would be home waiting for me brought this slight warmth, a tiny relief.  I was grateful.

It reminded me of broccoli.

In mindfulness eating practices, emphasis is put on what you add in instead of what you take out.  So, instead of thinking, ‘I cannot eat anymore tortilla chips,” you would concentrate on adding in broccoli (or perhaps another equally disgusting vegetable).  We can use this same practice with our feelings.  If you are sad, be sad.  Trying to just, “let it go,” or “get over it” creates more stress.  Have your sadness.  Feel it to its greatest extent.  Can you have your grief yet make room for gratitude?  I’m not talking about those affirmations to brainwash yourself into feeling something else.  Simply find one pleasure.  Is it a pet greeting you when you arrive home?  A hug from a loved one?  I’ve had days where I couldn’t find gratitude for anything except my own existence.  Hell, I’ve even had days when I couldn’t find gratitude for being alive, but I could find it for a fudge brownie.  It isn’t the healthiest of options, but it got me through another breath, another day.

I found a voice inside that I could bring to my class.  Be in your current experience fully.  Do not wish for a better mood or an easier life.  Settle in to what is going on currently within you.  Explore those dark crevices of your heart.  Be with them.  Be unwavering in your presence, and all the while keep holding a space: for gratitude, for simple pleasures, for connection with others, for ease, or calm.  You cannot manifest a good mood.  You just hold the space, and await the arrival of change.

One thought on “Make Gratitude Your Broccoli

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