SWIHA Blog

A Shower of G.R.A.T.I.T.U.D.E

Posted by KC Miller on 11/25/21 4:00 PM

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G-IVE GRATITUDE A TRY

Gratitude has always been familiar to me; basically, I’ve been a pretty happy-go-lucky person my whole life. By nature, I’m an optimist! As a longtime student of A Course in Miracles, I consciously choose to be “miracle ready” which means choosing to be in a state of gratitude and readiness as a daily practice. An “attitude of gratitude” was fully reinforced during my travels to India.

INVITATION: Consider being “miracle ready” for Thanksgiving Day. Give focused gratitude a try!

R-EADY YOURSELF FOR A RUSH

What I experienced in India was visceral! That means I had an adrenaline rush, my heart rate sped up, I held my breath, and then my breath elongated into a sigh, followed by a deep joyful cry. I felt gratitude in every pore of my body.

Imagine traveling over 30 hours, without much sleep, to the other side of the world, only to arrive at a very modest ashram in Mulvu, India. We were assigned to a camp-like dorm room, outfitted with low metal cots, with a packed-down futon mattress. The shower consisted of a simple pipe coming out the wall about two feet off the floor, with a blue plastic bucket in front of a rusty facet; a dipper-like cup hanging off the side of the bucket. Oh yes, there was a small plastic stool on which to crouch while using what was known as the “bath bucket!” I just laughed and chose to embrace the bucket.

INVITATION: As you prepare yourself for a life (or week) of gratitude consider even the smallest things from a place of appreciation and delight. Your ability to laugh at whatever presents itself enhances gratitude.

A-PPRECIATE WHATEVER SHOWS UP

It became immediately apparent warm, let alone hot, showers were not among the amenities. Luckily I had entered the trip with a yogic attitude — Experience the sensations; choose not to suffer!

Our days began with ritualistic gratitude; early each morning we attended morning worship known as Aarti, where flashes of light are offered to the Divine in the form of lite oil held in a simple silver metal tray. Aarti is an expression of gratitude, prayers, and relevance to deities, teachers, elders, and the Divine.

It was my good fortune to have one of the senior assistants at the ashram explain to me the first day that she uses the morning Aarti as a gratitude practice; during the light ceremony and morning chants, she counts her blessings as she sits in stillness, releasing any restless thoughts or judgment of any kind she identifies as mental modifications in her mind. Immediately I adopted her understanding of the morning practice.

INVITATION: Experience the sensations of life; choose not to suffer.

T-ETHER YOUR GRATITUDE TO CEREMONY

We share the morning ceremony with the local residents, who modeled the gesture of showing respect and gratitude to the Divine and their teachers. At the end of the ritual, those gathered could choose to approach the altar, bow in reverence and gratitude, and apply a rice paste to their forehead to leave an auspicious red mark.

Many of us followed suit anointing our 3rd eye area with what I’ve come to call “the mark of gratitude!”

INVITATION: Consider a quick morning bow as you see the sunrise. Touch the middle of your brow, known as 3rd eye, and simply say “Thank you!”

I-NVEST IN SELF CARE

Each day included a physical Asana practice, followed by Yoga Nidra — a form of guided dhyana or meditation. The main activities of the day were sitting erect for several hours as our teachers shared their wisdom around the yoga Sutra scriptures and other epic Vedic stories.

Sounds pretty idyllic, doesn’t it? It was, yet all the sitting took a toll on my body; I began to get a craving for “real” coffee and a menu my stomach recognized. Plus there’s the homesick factor for wanting your own bed, pillow, and a hot bath. I definitely hit a point where I was experiencing a lot of sensations and my monkey mind began to run amuck, teetering between mild grumbling to suppressed frustration.

About the fourth or fifth day into the immersion, I decided to skip the evening activity and go to my room for a little solitude and journaling.

INVITATION: Consider taking a yoga class or listening to a Yoga Nidra meditation. Or, making time for solitude and journaling. Allow for some alone time.

T-AKE TIME FOR YOURSELF

As I prepared to retire early that night, I sat on the plastic stool bracing myself for enough cold water to remove the grime of the day. To my great surprise, hot water flowed from the pipe. Sitting in disbelief it took me a few moments to register that the water was hot enough to scold me. After a quick adjustment, I began to shake — not from being chilly, rather from deep humility. Gratitude course through my veins in such a way I experienced the Divine’s embrace in a way I had never before. I wept.

INVITATION: Expect less, appreciate more of whatever shows up.

U-NDERSTAND THE POWER OF RITUAL

The visceral experience of gratitude has not left me. My gratitude practice is now forever rooted in the ritual. I arise each morning and find my way to an altar —sometimes it’s in the meditation room at my home, and other times I mentally transport myself to the basement of the Holy Temple on the grounds of the ashrams. A candle is lit, chimes are rung, a chant is whispered and gratitude courses through me.

INVITATION: Consider creating something you can do daily to remind you of your commitment to live from a place of gratitude.

D-O IT YOUR WAY

My intimate share of this experience is not to position myself as “special” or “holier than thou”, rather to emphasize the how ordinary, yet grand, the experience of gratitude can be.

INVITATION: Do gratitude anyway you choose. Thanksgiving can be more than a day — it can become a lifestyle.

E-VERY DAY WE CAN BEGIN AGAIN

My draw to India was the opportunity to study with Amrit & Kamini Desai, who have an authentic linage, and who fully embraced the original teachings from the Yoga Sutras!

Yoga Sutra 1.21, with a slight embellishment, encapsulates my experience of gratitude: “For those who have an intense urge for Spirit and wisdom, it sits next to them waiting to shower over them! Reach out in grateful anticipation.”

INVITATION: If you have an intense urge of Spirit and wisdom, allow everyday experiences to become your personal showers of gratitude. Give thanks for all things.

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KC Miller will be co-leading the upcoming Yoga Teacher Training program will Will Zecco starting January 26, 2022, on Monday and Wednesday nights. Our Yoga Teacher Training program embraces the principle of yoga as a unifying tool for creating health, well-being, and a deep spiritual connection. Experience our profound trifecta of structure, freedom, and support as you walk your chosen path while integrating living yoga into your life.

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Topics: Southwest Institute of Healing Arts, Kamini Desai, Gratitude, SWIHA, Mindfulness, KC Miller, Yoga Teacher Training, yoga nidra, Spirit, Holistic wellness, yoga, Arizona, India, Holistic Education, Amrit Institute, Thanksgiving, Gratitude Journal, Amrit Yoga, Grateful, Blessings, Blessons, Wisdom

About the Author KC Miller

KC Miller is the founder of Southwest Institute of Healing Arts celebrating its 29th year anniversary of helping people to discover their Gifts and Graces. Over the years KC has received many designations and won numerous awards. While these are milestones in life worth celebrating, her greatest joy and accomplishment, in her mind, is that her 'Life Light' has been used to help illuminate others 'light' and life purpose! Her personal life motto has become the healing model for SWIHA ~ Let me be an instrument in the peace and healing of others as we seek to touch lives, heal bodies and free souls!

KC Miller

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