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I will share the encounter with the Leek Lady, but, first a bit about gratitude.
Gratitude, from the Latin, gratus, is defined as, thankful and pleasing. We can add to the list with kindness and appreciation.
What other words would you assign to gratitude? What feelings and emotions arise from deep in your gut that tug at your heart?
Giving gratitude is a small act—with enormous impact.
It can seem difficult for some to express it now, during the tiny blue planet-wide pandemic at the time of this writing. And for those who find it tough now, it may have already been a challenging act to ask of someone.
For others, during this time, expressing gratitude may be actually easier, and it may have already been easy, or it may not have been.
But, the story is not around those circumstances, it is around expressing gratitude daily.
We have been, for part of the world, living a fast-paced life with drive-through pick up for coffee, food, and banking. Now we are all forced, to a degree do this and, to isolate. Some of us find ourselves separated by force, and are yearning for connection, community.
Perhaps this pandemic is helping us, even amidst the polarization of different thoughts on masks, distancing, home-schooling, isolation, more drive-throughs, to stop and realize, we are all connected.
And, what can we do to shift to a community of love, kindness, and connection?
Give gratitude. Give it daily.
Our thoughts are powerful; their energy extends to other beings. And not just human ones. Our thoughts of thankfulness, appreciation, and kindness to all extend to the animal kingdom, the plant, and fungi kingdoms, the soil, the air, the seas, rivers, and lakes.
There are many ways we can give gratitude, whether in person or in our thoughts. I will share a short story, as promised, about Leek Lady and then list a few ideas.
About four or five years ago, I was in need of something—since I cannot remember the thing—it was probably not too much of a need. Not one to waste gas or ride around aimlessly, I looked online for local stores that might have this item in stock. Unfortunately, the only place was a large store that I do not support. I am ashamed to say I drove there grudgingly and perhaps a tad judgmental. I know—not pretty.
I arrived, entered the blue fluorescent-lighted stale air of a too large of a building, and scanned the signs. I wanted to retrieve said item of need, pay for it, and get the hurry out. And yes, I was quickly at a checkout line with only two customers in front of me.
This is where I am patient—long waits in line allow me to breathe, people-watch, overhear conversations, and create stories in the chaos of my grey matter. Then, only one person in front—Leek Lady. This woman had one leek on the counter.
I quickly tuned into her conversation with the cashier since Leek Lady was visibly upset. Not angry upset, but distressed upset. She needed one leek for a meal she was preparing for her family. The kind cashier explained that leeks were sold only in bunches of three. Leek Lady would need to go get two more.
Leek Lady, on the verge of tears, said the recipe only needed one and she did not want to waste leeks since it would not be good to waste food. She was right on that note, so I jumped, leek-first into the conversation.
I asked the kind cashier to please wrap the leek and hand it to Leek Lady so she could go home and create her meal, and to charge a bunch of three leeks to my upcoming purchase. Remember, my needed item that I have no recollection of since then?
Leek Lady said I could not do that; I assured her I could and I wanted to. The cashier asked me if I was certain and with head nodding yes, she wrapped the much-discussed solo leek into a plastic bag. Here is where the real gratitude came into the story.
Leek Lady, a large woman in a multicolored flower-printed dress turned to me and wrapped her arms around me into a hug. A real hug—not the hug of the wimpy handshake variety. No, a heartwarming hug, the kind that lasts, well, for a long time.
I cried, she cried, and I think the kind cashier had tears too.
One act of gratitude, very small on my part, had her returning gratitude to me and to the cashier. I think of her from time to time—that hug helped me to receive gratitude and to realize how connected all beings are.
Here are a few ways I have used, and still use to receive and give gratitude.
1. Meditate daily, even if for three minutes, or 12 is good, and use a bit of it to express gratitude to someone, something.
2. Sit in front of your single lamp near-infrared sauna daily from 20-45 minutes and start giving gratitude to the sauna company’s founder, your chiropractor, your acupuncturist, your dual-extracted mushroom elixirs, and that company’s founder. To your body’s innate ability to heal itself, to family and friends.
3. Before a meal, give thanks to the food, the farmers, maybe the stores you used, the delivery people, the stock folks, the cashier, and the baggers.
4. Give gratitude to the air, sun, soil, and rain.
5. Write one to three things that happened to you at the end of each day and place those slips of paper into a large glass bowl or jar and read them at the end of the year.
6. Smile at strangers, offer them a compliment—it works both ways. Smile for real, so it shows in your eyes since your mouth is mask-covered.
7. As you start your walk, bike ride, yoga practice, car ride—give gratitude to those items. Everything is energy.
8. Give gratitude to your plants, give them names and talk to them, maybe if only when you water them.
9. Give gratitude to your pets, and to the tiny and large critters you encounter.
These are a few things I do, and I would love to hear yours. With much thankfulness and gratitude, thank you for reading this far.