I love the gratitude that is expressed at Thanksgiving. All of the earnest offerings of Giving Thanks, spoken aloud around dinner tables across the US. The thousands of Facebook posts, where friends declare publicly what they’re most thankful for.
I, like many of you, am grateful for my health. When I stop to monitor my unencumbered breath in, breath out, I can’t help but be reminded that I indeed have my health to be grateful for: cancer-free. The gratitude I have around my health is as vibrant, loud, and enormous, as any hot air balloon would be to the ant crawling up its tethered rope, just before its release.
Whispers of Gratitude
But it’s the small whispers of gratitude, the ones that have silently entered my life, with no fanfare, the ones that simply flow within me, that establish my internal rhythm of gratitude. You know the kind — the kind of thankfulness that nestles in right below the surface of your skin, on the tip of your brain, and in the bounce in your step, all occurring at the same time, although you are not consciously aware of it.
It’s the gratitude I feel when I write. While I’m focused on forming sentences, conveying a message, exploring my Truth, connecting with you —tucked right below the surface is gratitude. I’m grateful I am able to do what I love, day after day, and do it in the conditions I prefer: sitting in my office at home, the only noises coming from the breathing of our yellow Lab and the faint ticking of my watch.
It’s also the gratitude I feel when I free my brain and read for pure pleasure. As I sit on the couch adjacent to my writing desk, I delight in the words of Mark Nepo. I can flip to almost any page of The Book of Awakening, and see something similar to this:
Highlights galore, sections with brackets containing exclamation points, an asterisk here, double asterisks there, handwritten notes jotted in corners saying, Profound truth. Absolutely beautiful, on December 12th and Nepo is speaking directly to me here, on December 13th. The teachings and beautiful prose used to convey our human resilience within these pages translates to the sort of gratefulness I’m talking about — the kind that lingers within me, even when I’m no longer reading his work.
For the Truth seekers and Truth sayers out there, here is a prime example of a piece of Nepo’s work that creates such a stir of gratitude:
“The Color of Truth”
The Book of Awakening
by Mark Nepo
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched…but are felt in the heart.” ~ Helen Keller
There is an ancient Chinese art of painting on porcelain. It requires, more than skill and precision, a deep trust and patience in the process. It involves painting thin layers of pigment, one at a time, on the porcelain, letting each dry and soak into the porcelain itself. But even when dry, the pigment doesn’t yet reveal its color. You never know what the color will be until the porcelain is fired in the kiln — that is, until the pigment is burned into the porcelain itself.
This is remarkably like the life of questions that come from living. We use the brush of our feelings to paint our questions into our heart. But only after the fire of experience, only after our felt questions are burned by experience into our heart, only then do we see the color of truth emerge.
So there are no answers to the deeper questions of living, only the emerging colors of truth which we must find the trust and patience to live into.”
Joining BIG Gratitude & Whisper Gratitude
Recently I opened my email, as I’ve done hundreds of other mornings, and found an unexpected gift. A gift that created vibrant, loud, enormous ‘ant on the hot air balloon‘ gratitude AND whispers of gratitude that nestled in under my skin, hung out on the tip of my brain, and put a bounce in my step that is still lingering…over a week later. Thank you, Tony, for offering me the opportunity to interview Mark Nepo on his new book, Seven Thousand Ways to Listen. I am grateful for your support, for your gift, and for your friendship.
Receive your weekly dose of Trust delivered right to your inbox! Subscribe by entering your email — and although it goes without saying, I’ll say it anyway — I’ll never spam you — just posts. Love, Leslie