GIVE THANKS

July 2, 2018

Every morning one of the first things I do is to write down at least five things I have to be grateful for in my life. I have been doing this for years now. So many people I know do this in November in preparation for Thanksgiving, but every day is a day to give thanks, not just one month. So why not give thanks every day. Sarah Ban Breathnach, author of Simple Abundance writes five things every night, but at night I am too brain dead to clearly think about what I am grateful for, so I write mine first thing in the morning as I sip on my morning coffee or tea.

It is not so much about when you give thanks but that you do. It is not so much about how much you have but your recognition of it and ability to give thanks for it. It is so easy to give thanks when life is going well. However, when we are going through a challenging time, sometimes it is hard to give thanks. It is hard to give thanks when you are going through. Yet this is the very time it is most important because doing so helps us to see how blessed we are. Practicing gratitude keeps us mindful that we have everything we need, even when it may not feel like it. For example, for three months of each year, I have little to no income. I can work on saving each month, but then the financial drought season hits. It is a frustrating time as life feels like window shopping. There are so many things I see that I want to do or would like to have, but they are not a necessity, so they stay where they are behind the window. It is in those moments that I have to stop and give thanks and remind myself or be reminded by my wife that we have an abundance. Even when it feels like we are struggling, we are living in a space of abundance.

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TOPSY TURVY CAKEOLOGY

March 22, 2017

 

Hard to believe it has been almost a year since I have blogged here. For the last year, I have been praying about whether or not to continue with this blog. I had been praying for guidance about whether or not to restart. This past week, I was contacted out of the blue by a food site called Chew the World. They wrote a blog called The Definite Guide to Spaghetti Squash. While doing research on the topic they had run across a blog on Spaghetti Squash Spirituality I wrote over a year ago. We chose to help make each other’s work visible. Even though I was not included in their guide on how to cook it, to have my work recognized and shared by another food blogger inspired me to think about writing about the spiritual lessons from food again.

It was this connection with Chew the World that inspired my writing again this week. Their most recent blog was about How To Make A Topsy Turvy Cake The Easy Way. I am not sure if you have ever seen one of these cakes but they look amazing and like they are so difficult to make as if layer tilts at a different angle. The secret they point out is having the right equipment,

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GIVE IT TO THE KING

November 10, 2015

Every faith tradition has a teaching about how gratitude balances out greed. One of my favorites can be found in Kyabje Kalu Rinpoche’s book The Way of the Buddha. In it he writes, “At the time of Buddha Sakyamuni, a monk found himself in possession of a marvelous jewel that granted any wish — all the gold, silver, and precious stones you could ask for. The lucky owner thought: ‘I am a monk and have no need of all these riches. Better to give this jewel to a poor person. But there are so many of them, why favor one over another? Buddha is omniscient. He will tell me whom to give it to.’ So, going to Buddha, he explained his difficulty and asked him to designate a fitting recipient. Buddha Sakyamuni recommended that he give it to the king of that area, a very wealthy and powerful monarch. The monk made the offering, and the king accepted it, inquiring about the reason for the gift. The monk explained, ‘I thought I should give this gem to a poor person, but not knowing whom to choose, I asked Buddha Sakyamuni. He advised me to bring it to you.’ ”

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TWO BIRDS, A FROG, AND ME

August 22, 2014

This morning I woke up to this quote on my calendar that took me a moment to think about. It said, “One day Dong-shan was washing his bowl, and happened to see two birds fighting over a frog. A monk also saw this and said, “Why does it come to that?” “Only for your benefit,” Dong-shan said.

I know very little about Dong-shan and perhaps one day I will learn more about him, but this story seemed to resonate with me. In part because the way he answered the question reminded me of how I tend to respond to my students, always with another question or a statement, which will make them, think at a deeper level.

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