Cultivating a Thanksgiving Heart


As practitioners of life, many of us have discovered that there are ways to bring about change.  Sometimes we change a physicality.  We need a lift, we get a new haircut, a new outfit.  We want to inspire ourselves to go to our mat and practice, maybe we put on our favorite yoga pants, play the music that gets us into our groove.  These are some of the external changes that can inspire us to move into the place we wish to be.

Then there are those times, where we know we need to shift our heart and mind.  We can’t control the external forces.  It may be raining outside, but we remember that the rain gives us permission to slow down.  Maybe it’s the garden’s blessing and it gets that much deserved watering and nourishment.  This is a heart and mind shift.  We train ourselves to see the good in the moment.  We look with our heart for the blessings.  These are the internal changes at work.

We have these tools and teachings we hold sacred.  We practice them on our sticky mats in class and in little day to day actions.  Then those big, heavy days come.  Those immense moments where we feel lost and battered.  And those lists of gratitude we write feel hollow.

What happens then?  

Let go.  

Step into the river and align with the Divine.  Feel the water rush over you.  Washing away the thoughts, ideas, feelings that no longer serve your highest.  Receive the support and help of the river currents.

Trust the process.  

Honor the currents in the river.  Realize that there is something bigger going on, bigger than we can possibly understand.  Trust that the river knows what it’s doing, where it’s going.  There is no need to fight the current and swim upstream.   Although, we always have that choice.

Become curious.

Look around you.  What are the river banks like?  Is there debris?  Sticks?  Logs?  Rocks in your path?  Is the current strong?  Gentle?  Is the water warm?

Ask questions and Follow the breadcrumbs.  

When we choose to swim with the current, ask for signs of inspiration or guidance.  Then open your eyes and heart to receive those signs.  Maybe it’s the bumper sticker on the car you’re following that gives you the message.  Maybe it’s in the book you randomly pick up or the song that pops on the radio.  Or the feather on your sleeve that lets you know your guardian angel is nearby.

By creating a day to day relationship with our practice, it becomes easier to rely on the practice when the big, heavy moments come.  We have been cultivating the garden of our heart and creating a relationship with our inner self, our helpers (angels, guides, saints), and ultimately God.   

Those of you who have been in my class will know my silliness and strong belief that we have helpers all around us, seen and unseen.  No task is too small for me to call on my helpers because I am developing a relationship with them.  So when I need help whether big or small, I will have a comfort level in asking.  I will know what to listen for and where to look.  And I’ll have the understanding of how they answer and help me.  I have a full heart in knowing that my prayers are always answered.

These small things might be lost keys and I will ask for St. Anthony’s help in locating them.  Or maybe large things.  My brother left his wallet on top of his car upon leaving the grocery store and drove away.  I asked for St. Anthony’s help and Tommy received his wallet in the mail!!  Only the cash was missing!  Hey, let’s just chalk that up as a finder’s reward.  The credit cards were untouched.  Identity intact!!

There are so many amazing stories and encounters that I’ve had!  Maybe I’m running late and I ask the runner guides to clear a safe path so I arrive safely at just the right time.  Traffic might be crazy and I ask for Archangel Michael’s protection as I drive.  If a sadness has settled over a friend, I’ll ask the joy guides to bring them an uplifting and happy surprise.  If there is tension or anger, I’ll imagine a golden light over my head and watch the peace settle over the conversation.  

So in these moments before Thanksgiving.  Where my heart feels heavy and my joy is hiding, I wonder what the Thanksgiving Grinch would be called?  Curious…..

This will be a Thanksgiving without my mom and little brother Tommy.  They will be feasting in heaven and sure to be visiting us in spirit form.  I know if I want to have a playful experience and connect with them I can.

Not long after Tommy had transitioned, I was driving home from teaching an evening class and thinking of him.  A song popped on the radio.  I thought, this is a sign, a breadcrumb, that Tommy is trying to ‘talk’ with me.  No, it’s me being silly.  Next thing I know, my eye is drawn to a beautiful black car.  I look on the back for bumper stickers. Ha!  No bumper stickers.  But as I doubt that I am really connecting to Tommy, I notice the license plates are West Virginia plates.  Wow!  Another sign! That is where Tommy died!  Nah, I tell myself, it’s just happenstance that this car is in front of me and has these plates.  Last minute, this car decided to make a turn.  It just happened they were heading in the direction of the cemetery where Tommy is to be buried.  Third time’s the charm.  I do believe we can connect to our loved ones on the other side and this was Tommy’s way of saying hello!

So when I slip into the swamp of sadness and feel like giving up, I’ll rely on my practice, my relationships.  My swamp will turn into a river and I will let go, not give up.  I will let the water wash away what isn’t serving me in that moment.  I will join in with the current and swim with the river.  I will be okay with the unknown and trust that something bigger is at play.  I will become curious.  I will ask for help and guidance and I will joyfully receive those messages and follow.

And my list of thanksgivings will come from the depths of my heart, infused with all the love and gratitude I have for how it all has blessed me.

With full heart I am:

Grateful for God and the peace that passes all understanding.
Grateful for my teachers and their teachings.
Grateful for my students and their beautiful spirits!
Grateful for the friendships.
Grateful for my patient, steady, and loving husband.
Grateful for my funny, intelligent, and creative son.
Grateful for my intuitive, curious, and brilliant daughter.
Grateful for my doggie, Gracie, whether she’s pouting, smiling, or resting on my lap as I write this.
Grateful for my family.
Grateful for life.


Divine Love moving in and through me,
Blesses and multiplies
All that I have,
All that I give,
and All that I receive.
And so it is.

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