Today, I interviewed Jaina Bee, a friend and fellow blogger, on gratitude.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a creative collaborator in all media, enjoying interactive explorations with all kinds of creatures. I live in a very fancy house on very pretty a hill in San Francisco and fill my days and dreams with magick. I blog at http://paradoxmysteryandawe.blogspot.com/
What role does gratitude play in your life?
Gratitude is my home base, where I return to when I need to center. It is the core of all my prayers, all my actions, all my intentions. Everything comes from that center of gratitude. Gratitude is a great antidote for all ills. I weave gratitude into everything I do.
Do you have a gratitude practice?
Because it’s so central, so vast, it’s a part of all of my days and intentions. Really, my gratitude practice is just to say “thank you”. I start and end day saying “thank you”, and that bookend to my days is really the most important thing. I have tried other more elaborate things, but it all comes down to this. “Thank you” becomes my natural, ingrained response to everything, to any stimulus.
Can you give me an example of that?
Well, like I’ll trip over something on the floor and say “thank you”. “Thank you”, because it’s alerting me to the fact that there’s things on the floor and I need to be aware of them. Or I’ll be walking up the street, very focused on being on time, and then I’ll look up and see the moon with Venus next to it, and say, “thank you”. Anything that brings me into the moment will get a “thank you”. It brings awareness out of a lack of intention or focus on my part, it reminds me that I’m here, that I have this opportunity to live. My offering is gratitude.
What differences do you experience, both in your day-to-day life and in your Big Picture, after practicing gratitude?
I have experienced a re-directing of my awareness from focus on negativity, anxiety, or problems in life to a more hopeful way of living. It has worked in some pretty challenging circumstances, so I know it works for me! Days I’m practicing gratitude, I have a more graceful day. I’m looking for, and therefore receiving, beautiful gifts. It makes the day feel like a celebration. Days when I’m not practicing gratitude feel duller, they have a more depressive energy even if nothing in particular is wrong, everything feels very downhearted.
What are some things you are grateful for?
Awareness of the moment, appreciation of whatever I am experiencing. Just about being very aware of the present moment.
Right now, smelling rose-sandalwood oil- it’s beautiful, I’m in gratitude for all the components of it.
I’m thankful for water everyday. I drink a glass every morning and am thankful. Water is such a central element of my existence.
I can be really grateful for the most simple things- I feel like silly old fool but that’s a good thing to be, I think!
I hear the sound of leaves rustling, and stop to be grateful. I breathe and am thankful, just for my breathing, for inhaling and exhaling.
I’m thankful for my body, for carrying me through adventures, walking, for having good nourishment to feed it with- I say a prayer when I eat.
Would you share that prayer?
Sure. It goes:
I am grateful for this food
The gift of many beings
Bless the hearts, hands, hooves, wings, fins, claws and all
of every creature that contributed to this meal
May this nourishment sustain me
So that I may be of service for the benefit for all beings
Because it’s true that whatever is in front of me represents everything. One meal expands outward endlessly— to the people who farm and transport the ingredients, the pollinators, the manure, the weather, the sun —every little thing is a window into the expanse of the great big everything. Little things are wonderful reminders to practice gratitude.
Any other thoughts on gratitude you would like to share?
I heard of a really great practice of someone who, each night, gave thanks for one thing for which he’d never before expressed gratitude. Let me pass that along as an inspiration that there’s many ways to explore gratitude and that gratitude is always available.gratitude, interview, october 2013