Well, it is a big whoop and although I write a reflections post every 15 days (ish), today was really the first time I took time to celebrate the milestone and to reflect on what it has meant for me. And oddly, for the first time, I'd rather contain the reflection within and say little about it. I know this is a blog and the point of a blog is to write, but I'm going to go with my gut on this. Perhaps something more is percolating.
In the past 6 months, this practice has opened my heart, both to love and to serve. And in so doing, it has made me incredibly joyful, even under trying circumstances. And those circumstances...based on my attitude, have transformed into blessings. Oh, another added side effect is that I have become more creative and my attitude is reflected in my photography which gets more and more beautiful every day...not because I've gained skill...I've gained the eye to see the beauty all around me.
For me, I think this is the longest that I have consistently practiced any spiritual practice. Yes, I practiced yoga for years but every day? No. Yes I meditated several times a day when I was at the ashram....but I never kept that up. Now...Now...this is habit. And its up to me to decide whether this is a habit that adds value to my life or not....I am sure you can assess for yourselves whether gratitude is a value-add proposition or not.
And, I'm guessing you have assessed that it is.
You see, I keep going back to the whole reason I tried this. Gratitude has always been my favourite spiritual practice, because it makes one feel good. Well...kind of. What they don't tell you is that it just makes you FEEL. What you feel - well that depends on what is on the mirror of your heart that needs cleaning. I have a lot of grief that is covering up my soul's mirror and it has to come out.
I think that we guard ourselves against the emotional dust and distract ourselves so we don't have to feel it. Sometimes we medicate ourselves. But spiritual practice blows up the dust and it comes out when you least expect it. Today, I was dancing and singing in my room, getting ready to get out in the sunshine for a walk and maybe some photos. Then the happy song on the radio changed to Adele's 'Someone Like You'.
That song has always been an ex's crying song - over the woman he dated after me. But this time, I collapsed into a very young place and sobbed. Wow. From the heights of joy to the depths of despair in less than 6 seconds. I don't know how normal this is...but I do know I'm not bipolar or anything. It is simply the results of opening the heart. What's in comes out.
And I've got some major dusting to do.
It felt impossible. It certainly felt improbable. And let's be honest, I didn't make it. I fell off the wagon and had to backtrack to keep counting the days. And, on more than one occasion. But the key is - I didn't give up.
And that is the thing about spiritual practice. The ego will try to get us to give up - it doesn't want to be threatened by our awareness of our true selves. But, as Patanjali said at least a couple thousand years ago - peace/enlightenment is gained only one way - with spiritual practice that is consistent, conducted for a long time, and in all earnestness.
So...6 months is a drop in the bucket.
I've learned a lot about myself along the way, my symptoms improved and nearly disappeared (until I flew and suffered jet lag)and I opened my heart. My life is happier and I have a focus to my day.
So why would I stop?
I'm not going to set the next target (270 days) because the ego will try to stop me along the way. I'm just going to keep showing up, for a long time, consistently, in earnestness. But we know where we're headed.
I hope you'll join me for the rest of this adventure.
...Only by dusting off the mirror of the soul through our spiritual practice can we truly see ourselves as we are...not as a disparate collection of wavy and incomplete lines but as the tree of life ...
Namaste my friends...the light in me salutes the light in you...and it reflects just a little bit brighter with a little less dust covering it.
See you tomorrow.
And every day after...