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June 3, 2016

Love & Gratitude: 4 Elemental, everyday Practices.

Flickr/Carola Ferrero

“When all the knots of the heart are unloosened, then even here, in this human birth, the mortal becomes immortal. This is the whole teaching of the scriptures.” ~ Katha Upanishad

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How to unloosen the knots of the heart and mind?

How to realize the knots are already undone?

How to live from the heart, ever expanding, ever opening?

How to flow with grace, openness, a smile, gratitude?

The foundation of happiness is gratitude. The foundation of gratitude is love—loving life, living presently, loving whatever arises and whomever crosses our path.

Easier said than done, but love and gratitude truly do begin to flow more naturally with consistent practice. We open our eyes to the abundance and beauty, even amid the shadows and problems we face, personally and as a society.

Here are four simple, yet powerful, practices based on the four elements that can be practiced daily (or at least regularly):

Blessed be the Earth.

“The Earth is the mother of all people, and all people should have equal rights upon it.” ~ Chief Joseph

Wake up with love. First thing in the morning—and again in the afternoon or at sunset—gaze at a tree, a flower, a plant, the sky. (Any part of nature.) Feel a sense of belonging, right where you are, on the planet.

Send loving wishes to Pachamama, mother Earth and feel supported by her immense grace, gravity and strength.

Blessed be the Water.

“To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax and float.” ~ Alan Watts

Remember to be grateful for the little things: water, food, shelter—as well as the big things: love, friendship, laughter, life. Keep a mental gratitude journal as you wind down each day, and meditate upon all you are grateful for from your day in this precious human life, as you drift off to sleep.

Watch an inspiring documentary, such as Water: The Great Mystery or The Secret Life of Water. Water is amazing. We are water. Learn how the actual structure of water is changed by music, words, thoughts—changed for the better by positive thoughts, words and melodies.

Stick a sign on your water filter or dispenser that says “Love and gratitude.” Write those words on your reusable water bottle. It’s just another little way to remind ourselves to be grateful for fresh water and our access to pure drinking water.

Blessed be the Air.

“Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.” ~ Khalil Gibran

Breathe in gratitude. Breathe out love. Take a deep breath in and reach your arms up for the heavens. Fresh air. Conscious breathing. Pause throughout your day to just sit, or stand still, and breathe for a minute. It’ll change your day. Breathe in love. Breathe out gratitude.

Blessed be the Fire.

“The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.” ~ Ferdinand Foch

Light a candle (or a bonfire), say a prayer—give thanks for fire, heat, the sun, life. Give thanks for the sun illuminating the beautiful moon each night.

Meditate on the flame. Dance. Reflect. Celebrate.

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**Bonus: Blessed be the food. Eat (natural, healthy, local food), drink (in moderation) and be merry.

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Author: Michelle Margaret Fajkus

Editor: Yoli Ramazzina

Photo: Flickr/Carola Ferrero

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