Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Coming to Practice * Gratitude Games

In this post: Coming to practice... * Ecstatic Presence Empowerment: Gratitude Games!

Coming to Practice

When it’s hardest to give myself to practice, it’s the most important to do so.

Big changes are afoot in my life, and I - knocked off center - come back to the zafu, sit in front of my quiet altar, draw a card for contemplation from my goddess deck, and receive Kuan Yin. Goddess of Compassion. She will lead my practice today.

I draw at random from my stack of meditation books. It’s Jon Kabbat-Zinn’s Wherever You Go, There You Are. I open to a page at random, and it’s an essay called “A What-Is-My-Way? Meditation”.

I find my way in the few minutes of quiet. The way of surrender. The power of prayer enfolds me, and I surrender to being held by something larger.

I feel my heart constrict, a baby in the birth canal, I am being pushed through this moment, into a larger awareness of self, of potential.

Death and birth are solitary walks. Every moment of it, truly alone…yet not alone. In facing my absolute sense of self, I break nearly into a knowing of the larger truth – that there is no alone.

Compassion sits just outside my reach, because I have placed it there. Presence is, or is not. Presence is releasing expectation, releasing attachment, releasing time.

There is no time in the eternal now, the forever unfolding is-ness of the moment.

I am present, in practice. I am breathing compassion, in practice.

So I come back to the meditation altar, back to the pillow, and sit.



Ecstatic Presence Empowerment: Gratitude Games!
by LaSara Firefox,

I wrote this Empowerment for the Thanksgiving holiday. However, every day is a good day to practice gratitude. Gratitude helps heal the heart (yes, it's scientifically proven to help with healing rates after heart surgery or heart disease), it reduces stress, and it helps us to learn to notice the things in life that support ease and grace.

Here are some fun and easy ways to introduce gratitude practice to your family and friends. If you feel inspire to integrate gratitude practice into your life, consider hosting a Gratitude Gathering. You can use these games as a starting point.

1. Gratitude Practice: The old standby. Everyone in your cluster takes a turn saying something they’re grateful for. One offering isn't enough? Go around again!
2. "Gratigories": Take turns choosing categories, and then everyone at your table offers one thing they are grateful for in the chosen "gratigory."

At our family Thanksgiving last year we played this, and it was great! Some fun - and surprisingly touching - gratigories we came up with; public utilities, things that happened to or for us when we were teens, family traditions that have been handed down, the influence of famous people.

Have fun with the gratigories! The more diverse, the better.

3. A Grateful A to Z: An alphabet of gratitude! Start with A, and make
your way to Z. Make sure everyone takes a turn. This is obviously a great gratitude game for the wee ones in your crew.

4. Compassionate Gratitude: The most challenging o my gratitude games perhaps, but what better way to strengthen your practice of compassion, than with gratitude?

The point of Compassionate Gratitude is to find things to be grateful about in areas that challenge your lovingness. Politics? Family? America? Media? Culture? Choose your topic, and find the gift in the challenge!

Consider yourself empowered!

About the author:
LaSara FireFox, MPNLP, is mom to two amazing daughters, a life coach, and an educator. She helps her clients and students to find balance in their lives, and alignment with their personal and family-held values.

Visit LaSara’s website at for more information. At the site, you can listen to her “Yoga Mama Satsangha” podcast series, download free parenting-related items, and more.

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