It’s been a frustrating few months for me. I returned from my travels with renewed hope and jumped into life; making new friends, finding I have a love and natural inclination for activism and living in a very different part of San Diego county. Then as usual with life, a downpour of small and medium-sized frustrations came pouring down upon me testing my resolve. Given the last 4 years of dramatic life changes it should be no surprise that I began to feel overwhelmed. My usual self-care of meditation, gratitude and reaching out for help was holding my head above water, but I felt listless, wading through, and wasn’t giving enough to get what I needed until an evening of gratitude and a potluck.
I had not been practicing gratitude much lately which makes a huge difference in my attitude. Thanks to a suggestion from my new and wonderful friend Kelly I was introduced to an amazing organization(where I’ll soon be teaching a 6 week self-defense class) that was hosting a free gratitude night. This place is Shakti Rising and they are healing the world through empowering individuals, using community and peace as their tools. This is what I’ve been looking for. …The truth is a lot of us are looking for places like this, in slightly different forms.
So last week I attended an evening at Shakti Rising which included a group gratitude exercise/game and discussion along with delicious (vegetarian) food. I was energized by the new people I met(Allison, Albert and all the names hiding on the tip of my tongue) who are as close as possible to “my tribe”. A beautiful dancing soul, Lisa, who I had met the week before was present because I had suggested the place for her to check out. Another surprise came when I saw Michelle whom I had recently volunteered with in a local garden. The coincidences, the atmosphere, the words being shared were so magical I felt a deep gratitude that reminded me how even as the days and nights can be challenging these bright moments are what I LIVE FOR.
One of the exercises was to find a stranger in the room and share with each other 5 expressions of gratitude. I found this to be very refreshing, not in just sharing my gratitude, but to revel in another’s gratitude. There is magic in gratitude, the kind that fills you up from the inside with a knowing that the world is what we make it and we always can choose to change our situation even in tiny measurements. This magic shows us that by keeping hope alive we spread love farther than just ourselves. I have no idea if the amazing people in attendance felt as if that night was just as rejuvenating or if my presence was as positive for them as theirs was for me. Judging by my own experience I imagine that most of us left that house feeling happy, renewed, magical and full of gratitude.
In preparation for the evening I made a pie, sort of. It was a graham cracker crust, fresh mango topped with a sweet coconut curry granola and a sprig of basil. It turned out to be quite delicious! There must have been some magic in those mangos.
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