"Live in a state of gratitude for this sweet world, and you will drink from a well of happiness."
~ Janine Benyus
Recently, I received my first two-star online review. This reviewer’s chief complaint? Gratitude - as in too much of it. “I cringed at frequent passages waxing lyrical about gratitude, wonder at nature, or trepidation about the risks of the trip...,” she wrote. Ouch. After the initial smarting went away, I began to wonder if I had indeed waxed too heavily on the gratitude scale. Were my reflections on this noun ad nauseam? Curious, I revisited my adventure memoir in search of references to gratitude. I found eighteen of them.
“My heart filled with gratitude, and my eyes filled with tears.”
“Everywhere I looked, I saw an artist’s canvas, and I felt deep gratitude to be camping in the middle of it.”
“My beautiful surroundings and a respite from the wind imparted a deep sense of gratitude in me—perhaps more than I ever had before.”
And my favorite endorsement of this word acknowledging the safe conclusion of my journey:
“Feeling gratitude for being safely delivered back to these shores, I put my hands in prayer position at my heart and flowed into three sun salutations, thanking the water gods for where I’d been, for where I was now, and for where I was going.”
Hints of gratefulness, inklings of appreciation, and whispers of thankfulness drift throughout my 83,000-word tome. The gratitude I felt on my Inside Passage journey stemmed from a powerful comprehension of the gift of simply being alive, having the health, the strength and the wherewithal to create this life-changing experience. I honestly don’t remember a time in my life where I felt more empowered, more alive—more grateful. Today, my heart sometimes feels like it belongs in two different worlds. For the summer of 2010, my bow was heading north, but my world was exploding in all different directions. The magic, the misery, the letting go that I would experience was unknown to me. I sometimes grieve for that world while living this one, but I’m also strongly aware that this journey has become a paradigm of my life's journey.
Over time, gratitude had become an integral part of my personal lexicon. The more I look into my own heart, the clearer my vision becomes and I can sporadically feel gratitude for even the smallest things. I feel that gratitude helps me to make sense of my past, brings me peace to be in the present moment, and helps me to create a vision to manifest the future I desire.
Fluid by nature, water takes the path of least resistance, gracefully moving around obstacles rather than directly opposing them. Water is always changing, ebbing and flowing, like our lives and our bodies. Being on the water helps me connect to my true gratitude.
What connects you with your true gratitude?