“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” -William Arthur Ward
I love to tell you, “It’s all good!” You’ve heard me say it as I encourage you through the last few reps of a TRX exercise or up a hill on the bike! “We’ve got this!” is part of our PMA (positive mental attitude) that we share when we’re sweating together, facing mental struggles and physical breakthroughs. But, this past month, Max Strom, a speaker and presenter I had the fortune to learn from, said, “It’s not all good.” And he told us why. I was fascinated, humbled, and somewhat disappointed; while at the same time, awestruck by the brilliance of this person and his statement.
That’s when it made sense to me. There was a reason three months ago that I determined I would be writing in three parts. I knew I would first write on mindfulness. And then on perspective, and finally on gratitude. I never knew how it would come together, I just knew those three things were important enough for me to write about. And then, in the same way, most things become clear to me~ people, experiences, books crossed my path and entered my stream of consciousness. For whatever reasons, they compelled me to contemplate them and then shaped my journey. It is all good. “Where the mind goes, the body will follow”. If we believe it, and depending on our perspective. We have to be mindful enough that when we say, “it’s all good”, it can be.
Take “Goodnight Moon” for example. (I had to bring the moon in here somewhere, right!) I had one of my very favorite experiences of lying on the damp grass under a clear, star-filled, black sky in the desert community of La Quinta recently. I was with probably 50 other like-minded people from all over the world attending the Inner IDEA conference. But, my moon, the nearly full moon, was talking to me. And so was another one of my favorites from the wellness industry, Lawrence Biscontini, reading,”Goodnight Moon” by Margaret Wise-Brown:
“In the great green room, there was a telephone and a red balloon and a picture of the cow jumping over the moon. And there were three little bears sitting on chairs. And two little kittens and a pair of mittens. And a little toy house, and a young mouse. And a comb and a brush and a bowl full of mush. And a quiet old lady who was whispering “hush.”
Through soft eyes and an unblinking gaze at the moon, with one of my favorite children’s books’ lyrics being read to me, I could feel the rays of the moon dropping in a long fuzzy line down to meet me where I lay on the ground. And around the moon was a beautiful glow that seemed to get larger and smaller and change shape depending on my mind and it’s connection to it. I could see the face of the moon and in that face I always see my dad. There was something very powerful there. Yet, simple. It is always there. What does it take for us to see it?
It takes overcoming fear. I know I can connect to my inner-most self and to my dad when I am in that place. But perhaps, we don’t choose to go there often because we are afraid of what we will see or hear in the stillness of our very selves. When I felt my mind waiver and the glow of the moon shift and diminish was when I felt cold from the grass or chill in the breeze and was no longer connected with my mind, but the chaos of the brain took over and thoughts that “I am cold” entered. When there was no room for the thoughts, or the doing, because I was so engaged in the being, was when I felt the connection and the clarity. I have been under that moon before in the same place and listened to those words before too. But my perspective was different. It first happened five years ago, only a year after my father had passed. And I was angry. I sought my father in that sky, but was not at peace with myself to be able to feel the vibrations flowing or the connection of the glow of the moon and its rays. Instead, I was trying too hard, or “muscling” it, wanting something to happen that wasn’t ready or right. With that perspective, “it was not all good”, even though it was the exact same physical experience. I was fearful of my own self and my feelings regarding how my life had changed when my father died.
This year was different. It is true that time changes things. As much as we hate to admit it and as hard as it is. When I felt this moon almost two weeks ago, it was reassuring. There was peace and I was aware of the energy connecting to me and flowing through me to the sky, to the moon, and back to me. The channel had been opened. The samskaras (those blockages in our hearts from experiences accumulated and not dealt with) for that event had been cleared. I did it. I cleared a samskara and for that and the people, experiences, and stories I have encountered to help me to do that, there is gratitude! I could sense my father and many other things too, and for that there is gratitude! Of course, these past few years, a lot has changed. I have fear, but I honor its presence as a healthy reminder of my vulnerability. But I know that I can also choose to to live without fear guiding my decisions. I have learned that it is my way to “take the road less traveled”. And, as long as I am true to myself, it will be OK. “It is all good.”
Mindfulness – are we connected? Do our choices resonate? Perspective – what is our story? Where are we coming from? Gratitude – Can we say thank you for our minds, our bodies, the choices we have made? Thank you for the carriage, the vessel, that is the container for our souls. Thank you for the soul that keeps us connected to who we are, what is important, the people we carry with us, and the passions that drive us.
I am okay with “it’s all good” and I am okay with knowing that it is not always “all good”.
I am grateful for when it is and for the things that both scenarios can teach us.
Express your gratitude! Let the people in your life know how they shape who you are. Celebrate yourself and acknowledge gratitude towards whatever higher being you are connected to or to the universe that guides you, your intuition, your innate sense!
To do this, we must be mindful. Seek perspective (free yourself from fear). And express gratitude. Namaste.