When my first son was born, a dear friend gave us a lovely book called Frederick by Leo Lionni. The sweet children’s book tells the tale of field mice working through the fall to gather supplies for the winter. The majority of the mice gather seeds, grasses, and literally the nuts (and bolts) as supplies to meet their basic needs through the long, cold, and dark winter. One mouse, however, chooses a different path. He decides to soak in the rays of the sun, the colors of the summer, and the memories of abundance. At the time the other mice think he is just a slacker and do not understand why he is not stepping up to support the community.
The heart of winter sets in for the field mice and they work their way through their rations and staples. The mice are left cold, hungry, and sad yearning for warmer days and comforts of the season that lay ahead or behind. The mice turn to Frederick, ask him to share what he has collected, and become curious about what he said he was doing when he was “gathering words.”
Frederick gladly took the invitation to share what he had gathered and showered his mice friends with imagery and detailed descriptions of the fullness of life, flowers, trees, the warmth of the sun. He found a way to nurture his tribe of mice with memories, sensations, color, words, and love in the form of poetry.
As I settle back into the drab colors of the Maine in the winter, well, technically now spring but it’s easy to be fooled ;), I am so grateful for the hit of abundance that I dove in to while down in Costa Rica. Life was just dripping off of every molecule of everything around, the thick air filled with warmth, sweet smells, and wildlife. Flowers, birds, monkeys, vines, water, all senses were gladly awakened and filled up with such a display of the richness of life on this planet. It was not a surprise to feel like my life in Maine was a bit flat on my return. The four walled studio somehow just wasn’t able to be compared to the open walled studio that overlooked the ocean and invited all senses into a dynamic dance. My first class back after my trip was yearning for inspiration from the jungle. Teaching down there never felt separate from nature which made for full, rich, and connected classes. For that, I am so grateful.
As I searched to find a way to create more meaning and inspiration for my classes back in Maine, I realized that at the heart of my experience was deep gratitude. Gratitude for the seasons, gratitude for the experiences, gratitude for the continued continuity of community at Lila, gratitude for my health, my practice, my home, my family. As Tony Robbins stated, “When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.” And, Brene Brown sweetly states, “I will practice gratitude to access joy.”
So that I did. I pulled up this sweet quote to help bring back the fullness of life to those of us feeling a bit dark, dreary, and done with winter.
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into clarity, problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past… and brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
What are the ways you nurture yourself through times of transition, sadness, and long winters? How have you been embracing the fullness of your life? May we all learn from the sweet little mouse Frederick to slow down, smell the flowers, see nature, friends, family as if seeing them for the very first time as a way to create a sustained sense of being nurtured throughout the change of seasons and the lila, the ups and downs, of life. Surround yourself with others on the path of living with gratitude… join us this month for our growing weekly class schedule, including the addition of a monthly dharma conversation, and a handful of amazing workshops from beautifully inspiring teachers. Let’s gather and create the sense of abundance together.
I look forward to sharing the Lila space with you all.