As I look back on the last four weeks of writing this series and reading each entry multiple times, one question keeps popping up: Now what? Since I have put my thoughts on paper, gained a little more clarity, expanded the capacity of my own spiritual practice of gratefulness and thankfulness, where do I go from here? I wonder if I have been changed in any way, or if I will do things a little bit differently today.
Joanna Macy, the great Buddhist scholar and eco-philosopher, says that gratefulness is the source of all true art. I love this idea because it reminds me that the great fullness of life is a creative journey, one that I am imagining and expressing. I suppose I resonate so deeply with it because it is an affirmation of how I have chosen to live my life:
To be a creator of beauty by inspiring and awakening individuals into a greater experience of their divinity through the wholeness of the human experience.
Frequently in religious or spiritual traditions we are taught to release or transcend the human experience, to move to a place of pure divinity as though it were a destination or something to aspire to. Not for me. To know the ultimate belonging that is gratefulness and have that flow out into thankfulness, I need to embrace the joy and the suffering that is all of life. It is in both experiences that I find the place of stillness where God is being me, and I am being God.
It’s not about freeing myself from being human. It’s about the dance between my human and divine nature.
Because this is not a solitary journey, I must never forget that this dance is one I engage in with you. I experience the great fullness of my life through relationships, through being aware of how we are related to each other and to the universe. In our dance we are exploring the source of our true art – the wellspring of our power to create, thereby healing the world. In the end, I think this is the true nature of gratefulness.
The great fullness of life is not something to accomplish or aspire to. It is not something to be mastered, nor is it something at which to succeed. The great fullness of my life is something I lean into with every step of my human dance.
While in this practice I am delving into everything in my life, even things I label as “the good, the bad and the ugly,” and discovering a field of treasures, a nutrient rich soil, “the source of all true art” from which to create beauty, delivering me into the world just as I am: good, true and beautiful.
I affirm I am part of a vast and marvelous pirouette that goes on forever, in every moment, in every corner and with every particle of the universe. My thankfulness becomes a celebration of the joyful expression of my being. It is the heart of my creativity and compassionate moments of devotion. Have a joy-filled Thanksgiving, and may you always experience the great fullness of your life.