Celebration seems such a crucial element to living in this consciousness of compassion. When I recognize the needs of mine that are satisfied in the moment, I generally feel open, alive and grateful. And the observation, for me from my perch of privilege, is that most of my needs are satisfied much of the time. I first learned this lesson a few years ago when I rushed from Albuquerque to Atlanta to support my parents during a severe and unexpected health crisis. My time at my parents’ home stretched out to two months, and during those 60 days, most of them apart from Jori and the ground of my “normal” everyday experience, I learned a deep lesson about the power of acknowledging “ordinary” gratitude. Sometimes, practically the only need I could acknowledge as satisfied was the need for air. I always had enough air! I was surviving!
Noticing this opened up the space to acknowledge other needs satisfied in that moment as well: safety, respect, community, autonomy, effectiveness, connection, love, interdependence…This quality of self-connection ended up being a cornerstone of my practice during that period, and since – the simple acknowledgment and savoring of a need satisfied.
Something about the space that opens up from gratitude transforms the experience of mourning, as well. Since our needs are in constant and dynamic flux, in any given moment, some needs are satisfied, some are emerging into awareness, and others may become downright urgent; and there may be the pain related to chronically unmet needs. For some of us, we suffer deeply because some of our needs have gone unsatisfied for far longer than we would wish and we can choose to connect to the sweet pain of noticing that life does not always unfold to support every need being met in every moment. When our needs are not satisfied, by design and by definition, we feel uncomfortable. The lack of comfort moves us in the service of our unsatisfied needs. If we did not feel the pain of hunger, we would not be motivated to eat!
So mourning and gratitude end up being two sides of the same coin of celebration. As we continue now to move toward the light of longer Spring days, my wish for you is to celebrate the inner Light of awareness of Life moving within you. May your attention on your feelings and needs motivate you towards creating and sustaining well-being for your self, for those you care about, and for those you do not even know.