A few more post-retreat thoughts, this time about gratitude.
As I prepare my home for guests for Thanksgiving, I feel overly busy, as if I have lost a sense of the groundedness I felt on retreat. I certainly know how to return to this place of centeredness, yet the ego barks its commands "To-Do" instead of Be.
And sometimes we just need to put the ego in its place by saying, 'I hear you, but I'm choosing not to listen to you.' I believe there is a difference between hearing and listening. We can "hear" the ego but "listen" to the calling of the soul instead, especially when it invites us to centeredness.
One of the practices that is the most grounding for me is to connect with Mother Nature. I took a few hundred photographs while on retreat because I knew this moment would come—a pivotal time when I'd feel as if I'd lost my sacred footing and would need to re-immerse myself in the spectacular beauty of the Meditation Gardens where I spent so much time in silence. Nature, to me, provides a direct experience of communion with the Divine; with the Cosmic Creative Soul that molded and shaped such splendor. I believe in "Intelligent Design." Reviewing the photos I took there restores me.
You see, when you are on retreat, your body and mind move much more slowly. You can see--really see—what's going on around you in a more light-filled way. There is wonder and a grand sense of awe. And, not surprisingly, what often arises are feelings of gratitude. I noticed this within myself when something quite different greeted my senses. The patterns in tree bark ...
the perfect symmetry of a plant ...
... the incomprehensible uniqueness of thousands of species of growing things.
The heart expands and opens.
Such grandeur! Such ingenuity!
Gratitude bursts forth like a brilliant flower.
In this moment, there is nothing lacking.
You remember, all are of the One.
Thanksgiving blessings to you my lovely friends.
May your eyes and heart see clearly so gratitude can blossom in your own life.
Photos and text © Janice Lynne Lundy, 2013. All Rights Reserved.
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Janice Lynne Lundy, DMin
is an educator, interspiritual director/guide and retreat leader who has been pointing people back toward the Sacred for more than twenty years. She is the author of several spiritual growth books, including Your Truest Self, My Deepest Me and Portable Peace., and is the co-founder and director of the Spiritual Guidance Training Institute.