Stop What you're doing
Stop for a minute and look around.
What do you notice? What can you see right in front of you? What do you sense? Are there particular sounds or smells? Maybe some feelings, or sticky thoughts perhaps? Is there stuff that, had you not taken a moment, you wouldn't have experienced? Do you notice anything, right at this moment, that you are grateful for? Am I driving you nuts asking you all these questions? :)
OK, let me get to the point.
This morning as I was getting ready for my day, gratitude knocked me upside the head when I took a moment to reflect on my schedule.
This is what my Thursday looked like:
Eat avocado toast and drink tasty coffee
Teach a yoga class
Eat a tasty lunch
Practice music with someone I admire
Create content I'm passionate about
Work on tasks that support a yoga studio I love
Talk to awesome people
Eat more tasty food
Teach another yoga class
This is a freakin' dream day to me and I almost didn't realize it!
You see, I've been very much in my head lately about outcomes and goals. I've got a lot of them and it's overwhelming at times. I've been feeling lots of pressure to produce, and to have a concrete plan of how I'm going to get to that place of "success". I was getting really caught up in all the things I need to accomplish, and was beginning to suffer a little.
Luckily I work in a field that is constantly reminding me to stop, take a breath and just notice what there is to notice. It was during one of those pauses that gratitude grabbed me by the shoulders and shook some sense into me.
There's this part in the Bhagavad-Gita (a foundational and sacred text in Hindu and Yoga traditions) where Krishna (a manifestation of god) is talking to Arjuna (the main character in the story) about one's work on this planet. He says, in so many words, that we have no right to the fruit of our work, only to the work itself. That "work done with anxiety about results is inferior to work without such anxiety". This makes sense to me now more than ever.
Having goals and desires are great. They're what spring us into action. However, the minute we start to equate our value or identity with the results of those actions, suffering will occur because it takes us out of the present moment. We run the risk of missing the fact that right now we have exactly what we need, if not more! We also tend to miss the fact that life is pretty damn good right now; even in the midst of challenges and the push to hit a goal.
When we can take those pauses and find gratitude in what already is, it energizes us to keep moving towards whatever goals we have. It's a beautiful dance of striving towards, while keeping our minds, hands and hearts wide open to whatever surprises life has to offer us.
So stop whatever you're doing and look around. What do you notice? What in your life, right at this very moment, brings you joy? And how can you use that joy to fuel you as you dance through life?