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Gratitude Practice Is Not An Escape Hatch

My heart breaks every day..sometimes more than once. In this moment in history, our hearts are asked to hold a heaviness that at times feels too great to bear, let alone show up and contribute something. In the last few weeks, my gratitude practice has been a lifeline, a simple practice that has helped me navigate the ever-present heartbreak. It may sound counterintuitive, but in the face of my heartache and grief, practicing gratitude has become a small sanctuary.

I've noticed that when I simply shift my focus to the small wonders around me, like the vibrant fall colors of gold and red outside my window, it has a surprising effect. It's growing my heart, expanding my heart's capacity, making it possible for me to embrace the profound pain and sorrow that often resides in the depths of my being.

The Abundant Gratitude series we are offering this month isn't about escaping the harsh realities of life. It's not a magic wand that erases the devastating news of conflicts ravaging a third of our planet, the insanity of mass shootings, or the ever growing shadow of poverty cast over many lives. Gratitude doesn't deny these truths, and I don't offer it as a means to avoid or deny them.

What I do offer is the practice of gratitude as a way to meet life head-on, as it is, with all its beauty and heartache. It's about understanding that life is an intricate tapestry woven from paradoxes – moments of joy entwined with those of sorrow, and beauty contrasted with pain, sometimes in the very same breath. Gratitude, when embraced moment by moment, has the incredible power to expand the capacity of your heart. Just as it's been growing mine, it can help you to hold the weight of the unknown, the baffling parts of life that remain shrouded in mystery, and the darkness that sometimes envelops us. In essence, gratitude continues to be a powerful gateway into the profound mysteries of the Divine.

So, I invite you to delve deeper into your gratitude practice this month, not as an escape from reality, but as a powerful tool to help you hold it all. You are still allowed to experience joy, to savor moments of delight, and to notice the beauty that exists, even in the midst of profound grief and heartbreak. In truth, gratitude doesn't diminish the pain; it amplifies our capacity to bear it. It reminds us that we are resilient beings, capable of embracing the full spectrum of human experience. It encourages us to recognize the threads of possibility and love that weave through the fabric of existence, even during the darkest of times.

I want you to know how wildly grateful I am for you – for your courage, your willingness to confront the complexities of life and your dedication to the sacred wholeness that is both you and the essence of Life itself. Together, we navigate this messy journey, holding space for it all – the heartbreak and the beauty, the grief and the gratitude.

With blessings and boundless gratitude,

Rev. Amani

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