There was a time when I took things for granted. The dance of the sparrow, the tiny buds on a tree unfurling on a fine spring day, the rain that sang on the tin roof, the delicious fragrance of a favourite dish. Youth has that quality of unwonted carelessness, and yet carrying with it such a fragile sweetness. When in it, life was a dance, carefree and exuberant. Time simply flew then and with careless abandon I breezed through life as if it would last forever. But nothing does. The more I practice yoga and mindfulness, the more I am reminded of the delicate nature of our existence. The more I notice, the more time seems to slow down its roll and what was a gallop before turns into a slow stroll. All that happened was that somewhere along the way ignorance turned to awareness. And the more I am aware the more I am grateful for this life and everything in it.
Practicing gratitude is such a liberating process. I started writing down gratitudes when fairly recently, I came across bullet journaling, a method founded by writer Ryder Carroll. It is a very simple way of keeping not just appointments but also our thoughts, habits and intentions. And the best part is that it is hand-written, such a blessing in this digital age. The moment we write something down on a piece of paper, we allow our mind to slow down and it is then that our awareness truly is awakened. My list of gratitudes is my favourite bit in the journal. There are small items like being able to go to the supermarket during this lockdown. Or having a cup of coffee in the morning. But it also has the bigger things I am grateful for: having friends and family in my life, whether the connection is by whatsapp or zoom. Writing them down means I can revisit and re-read. Today, my entry has to be the far-away mountains, that loom so large above the clouds. The snow-capped peaks rise majestically from a sea of misty valleys, all blue and grey and white. Like a Nicolas Roerich painting, rich in its profound spirituality. And I am grateful for every morning when I open the window and find them poised above the ground ready to kiss the western sky.
A Haiku Gratitude! tears melting into mountain snow -Soen Nakagawa Roshi, 1931