I love the quote that started this off:
Nothing that is done for you is a matter of course. Everything originates in a will for the good, which is directed at you. Train yourself never to put off the word or action for the expression of gratitude. –Albert Schweitzer
I love to be reminded to reflect on gratitude. Any one who has ever taken my yoga classes will have been urged to think on our gifts more than once, and this is an important ability and task to keep in a regular practice of yoga, life, what have you. The following questions were adapted from the email blast I get from Daily Good, and couldn’t resist completing and sharing here. Here’s wishing you great love and light, as well as heartfelt gratitude for all that we experience, embody and share.
1) What teacher are you most thankful for and why? What did you learn from him or her?
Oh wow— this one is tough. I am a fan of teachers. I have had many (as we all have) and each one has shared wisdom that has inspired me, whether intentionally or not. There have been unsavory lessons from teachers who should have taken the time to evaluate their position as teacher and role model after leaving me with feelings of inadequacy based on my gender, appearance or ballet anatomical turn out, as it were… But this ultimately led me to adopt that old adage to Question Authority – priceless. And I was also lucky enough to have had teachers who saw gifts of uniqueness and creative beauty in me; English teachers, other art, dance and yoga teachers. It’s all about identifying your creative spark and feeding that flame, sister.
2) What’s the season you’re most thankful for, and what’s your favorite part of each season?
Autumn. Autumn brings about change, mystique, and downright magic. Colors, and sounds and smells, apples and crazy multicolored gourds fer Goddess sake! What’s not to love about that?
However, the Quadfecta of four seasons is what it’s all about:
The shush and ethereal blue glow of snow laden hills and trees. The smell of wood-burning fireplaces. Hot cozy beverages in warm ceramic in your cupped hands. Baking nom’s. Chilled cheeks and legs after crusading down slopes or through fields on whatever sliding device you favor. And that phenomenal first pint of whatever hoppy brew you select after doing so.
The thaw of moss and streams in the woods in Spring. Bird song bursting through ice shell and echoing among the clattering trees, awaiting buffer of budding leaves and blossoms in the branches they soar to and from.
The beach in summer, warm breezes, coconut scented anything, sundresses and exploding freckles (believe me.. they *do* explode… propagate like rabbits I say.)
3) What electronic device are you most grateful for, and what does it add to your life?
Ugh… I don’t KNOW. I mean, I am addicted to my damn iPhone. It’s ridiculous. It adds mad convenience, duh– like on hand GPS for when I ascend topside from the metro north and have no idea whether to turn right or left. And firming up plans, sending emails, blah blah blah. But methinks I need to curtail it’s convenience and maybe be Inconvenienced from time to time. For the sake of human interaction or book reading.
4) What musician or type of music are you most thankful for?
Oh yeah, Geez! Another simple inquiry! I am a lover of music here. MANY kinds. But let’s think formative. Tom Waits. Kim Deal. PJ Harvey… Big ups. David Bowie. Iggy Pop. The Pixies. Garth Stevenson. Snatam Kaur Khalsa. The X. Gaucho. Gottschalk. Ravel. Tchaikovsky. Gershwin. The Toids. I mean, really… This is a blog in itself.
5) What are you most grateful for that brings beauty to your daily life?
My son. Hand’s down. Ari is the most amazing, adaptive, brilliant, entertaining, enlightening, loving, glowing being I have ever encountered in my life and I thank God every day that he is in it and I was part of his amazing creation.
6) What form of exercise or physical activity are you most thankful for?
Yoga and hiking. And dancing. And kayaking. And snowboarding. But these last two, and sometimes number 1-3 as well, have been postponed for the duration due to extenuating circumstances (see #5).
7) What foods are you most thankful for?
HAH! Really? You may run away after reading this– please be mindful that I am 10 weeks pregnant and nauseous as all get out, but what I manage to stoke the digestive fires with lately has been some pretty nasty stuff. But as my midwife states, first trimester is all about survival, and I anticipate maneuvering into a more healthful diet come 2nd and 3rd trimester ( if my first pregnancy was any indication- save those steak and cheese grinders from that deli in the ‘Hill in New Haven when I worked evening clinic). Ok– so biscuits of various varieties, with gravy, without, with cheeseeggsveggiemeats, etc. Ruffles Cheddar chips. yes. that is right. Apples and apple cider. Cheese. bread and butter. Mini-veggie corn-dogs (hey! Where are you going?!?!).
8) What local store or restaurant are you most grateful for? How does it contribute to your quality of life?
Whole Foods for the win. I know it’s not “local” per se, but I do try to purchase local items when there. This little (ahem- BIG) gem of a place offers a sanctuary where my momma-sistren friend, Alison and her son, Robert, can meet after playground-ing it up. We give the boys awesome wood stove pizza and milk, and then chase them up and down the eatery hall while getting sweetly accepting smiles and nods, if not the occasional unsolicited body barrier from one doll of a checkout gal, as we try to inhale our own lunches and catch up. Side note– WF in Fairfield has a great tiny play area for the kids at the terminal end, whereas Milford’s does not. But they both rock.
9) What book are you most grateful for, and why?
I don’t have one…sorry. But again, many- and not complete list: Baby Catcher by Peggy Vincent, My Shining Star- by Rosemary Wells, Jamberry – by Bruce Degen, Finding More on the Mat- by Michelle Marchildron, Nourishing the Teacher by Danny Arguetty, the Sookie Stackhouse books (until about vol 13), George R.R. Martin books, as well as those by Virgina Woolf, David Sedaris. The Bhagavad Gita, Autobiography of a Yogi, and the Yoga Sutra’s.
10) What act of kindness has made the greatest difference in your life?
Being comforted by one of my midwife’s whose firstborn also refused to be born without a c-section despite pushing for many hours and doing “all we were supposed to do” during our pregnancy, and then the amazing support of Dr. Jennifer Young as Ari & I struggled to do the “most natural thing in the world”, breastfeed.
11) What challenging experience has ended up changing your life for the better?
See all above.
Oh- and marriage.
12) What form of art are you most thankful for: music, acting, writing, painting, drawing . . . something else?
ALL! Dance, music, writing, painting… collage, decorative vegetable preparation, sky-writing, mimes, you name it.
13) What place do you feel most grateful for and why?
My body. Because it rocks.
And our home.
14) Name three days in your life that you feel especially grateful for.
Wedding day, Ari’s birth date and today.
15) What color do you feel most thankful for—is there a color that you can’t imagine living without?
16) Is there a personal limitation or flaw that you’ve come to appreciate?
My fiery, hot-headed bitchy self. The more I embrace it the easier it is to calm.
17) What vacation are you most grateful for?
Oh- Dave and I had SUCH an amazing time in Old San Juan and Vieques, PR a few years ago. Until I sunburnt my ass while face down snorkeling for 3 hours. But then again, that only accentuated après in the thatch roofed seaside bar.
18) What philanthropic cause or organization do you feel thankful for?
Save the Children, PPFA, NOW.
19) What product do you use on a daily basis that you most appreciate?
St Ives Collagen Elastin facial moisturizer. and toothpaste.
20) What, from this year, do you feel most grateful for?
My perseverance through thick and thin. My family and friends (those who have stuck with me despite my change in parental status and recreational activities) and being able to work part time so I can be with my family as we grow and therefore find more and more love for one another.
Happy Thanksgiving y’all. <3