Happy Thanksgiving…so much to be grateful for!

Posted by on Nov 24, 2011 in Uncategorized | 0 comments


Good morning all,

We are on the road in beautiful Del Mar, CA, at the new home of my brother Josh, with his wife and son, Jean and Noah, and my parents.  Some of us are hard at work preparing in the kitchen, while Angela and I are tying up our final loose in ends in preparation for our travel to SE Asia tomorrow.  We are flying from LA to Bangkok, and onward to Luang Prabang, Laos.  Laos is known for being slow, romantic and inviting, it has been written that “Europeans (i.e. westerners) who come to live here soon acquire a certain recognizable manner.  They develop quiet voices, and gentle, rapt expressions.” – Norman Lewis from  “A Dragon Apparent: Travels in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam”

Luang Prabang is nestled amongst green mountains in a valley at the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Ou Rivers.  It has long been a center of Buddhist practice and study, at the various wats (monastery and temples) throughout the city.  As the former capitol of the Laos monarchy, and a destination for French colonials, its streets are lined both traditional laotian and french colonial architecture and cafes.   The waking hours just before sunrise are said to be filled with the sounds of monks chanting, and the smell of fresh basked baguette and coffee.  We are simply hoping to get our feet on the ground, finding a local guest house, and perhaps an Herbal Steam house in which to cleanse our travels and get acquainted with the locals.

Lets not get too far ahead of ourselves.  So much to be grateful for here.  Health, loving family, food on the table and much to celebrate.  It is easy in hard times to let the mind dwell on that which we perceive ourselves to lack.  This list is bound only by our capacity for desire.  One of the primary classical yogic teachings around practicing non-harming with the mind, it to “cultivate the opposite” in response to negative mind states.   That is to say, rather than dwelling on what we lack, cultivate mindfulness, and gratitude will naturally blossom.  Do not disregard the potency and efficacy of this practice until you have tried it.

It starts with simply being aware of this moment.  Body, breath, mind, heart, environment.  What is with you now?  Are you fully aware and appreciative of its presence?   Take a moment several times today to stop, close your eyes, and feel body and breath.  In that rest, consciously relax any physical or respiratory tension.  Bring to mind and heart anything (physical or non-physical) for which you are grateful.  Feel the sense of gratitude -warm, soft and vibrant- around your heart.  This is the essence of gratitude- the  profound heartfelt connection to life.  It is what we celebrate at Thanksgiving.  It is what yoga helps us to reconnect with.  It is the fruit of the conscious life.

May you take time to recognize this within yourself.  May you be grateful for its presence in your life.  May this inspire you to a life of purpose and connection.  Wishing you all the best on this holiday.

Be well,

Ben and Angela

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