Welcome to DAY 8 of our practice. Let’s begin…
Please close your eyes while you take three slow, deep breaths. Then open your eyes and consider the invitation to: “Share Your Blessings.“
Throughout our week together we have noticed, contemplated and cultivated an appreciation for the gifts, privileges, and beauty in our lives. We have seen the extraordinary in the ordinary. We have opened to surprise and to our hearts’ wisdom and compassion. In contact with such great-fullness, it is time to share our blessings!
At the close of A Grateful Day, Br. David says:
“And so I wish… that you would open your heart to all these blessings and let them flow through you, that everyone whom you will meet on this day will be blessed by you, just by your eyes, by your smile, by your touch, just by your presence. Let the gratefulness overflow into blessing all around you. And then it will really be a good day.”
When we live our lives in great-fullness and are in touch with the blessings and abundance that come from this, giving and sharing is a natural next step. But, it’s not always the step we take. In a society which celebrates and promotes scarcity and self-preoccupation, we can be fearful that our generosity may be seen as naive, that what we are inclined to share may be rejected, or that our giving will deplete us. It can be tempting to save and savor the “goodies” for ourselves and enjoy the richness of what delights us as private pleasure. And yet, withholding our contributions can separate us from others and the world. In sharing our blessings we participate in a virtuous cycle, and bring ourselves, others, and the world the full benefits of the good, the true, and the beautiful. Blessings need to flow and when they do, we are all richer for it.
So in this spirit of giving from great-fullness, today we invite you to:
- Set an intention to share your blessings. Notice how simply setting this intention impacts you.
- Smile easily and often today. Notice how it feels to smile and how your smile impacts others. Notice how you feel when you receive a smile from another.
- Consider your time, skills and privileges and how you might share these blessings. Talk to a friend or do a little research online to clarify your heart’s interests and values, and possible ways to be generous.
- Offer an act of kindness. For example: pay for the next person’s coffee in line; let someone go ahead of you when driving or in the grocery store; offer to do an errand for a busy parent or caregiver; shovel the snow from your neighbor’s sidewalk. For more inspiration, see Daily Grateful Living Practice Ideas.
- Share A Grateful Day with your friends and family and ask them what they are grateful about in their lives right now.
- At day’s end, reflect upon what you noticed, how it feels and what might have changed as a result of following your intention to share your blessings.
- Write about your experiences in a journal and/or share below.
If you would like to explore this topic further, you might appreciate:
- When Giving Is All We Have – a poem by Alberto Ríos
- Returning the Gift – an essay by Robin Wall Kimmerer
- Why a Grateful Brain Is a Giving One – an article by Christina Karns, Greater Good Science Center
- A Grateful Day – the video (5:23) meditation by Br. David that inspired this practice.