Gratitude - The Greatest Virtue
I left my running shoes in Europe. After a week of walking eight to ten hours a day through the sun-soaked streets of Paris and Barcelona, I wore right through the toes. I am so fortunate to have been able to enjoy the delights of these cities, if only for a few short days, and the feeling with which I returned is one I want to share.
As I walked through the lovely, old cityscapes, slack-jawed and goggle-eyed, I wondered if the residents still took notice of the artistic and architectural wonders around them, or if these details just blended into the background of their busy lives. Certainly as a visitor, every corner I turned brought new reasons to "Wow!" In the Musee d'Orsay, a grand, old train station miraculously transformed into a home for the greatest impressionist art, visitors meander among the sculptures and paintings, both surrounded by the city's magnificent history and connected to its thriving, contemporary bustle that shines through the clock towers and vaulted windows. I marvelled at the unique beauty of the museum and the accessibility of the art (and people's tendency to see things through their viewfinders and smartphones rather than with their own eyes). And in the Sagrada Familia, as I learned how Gaudi attempted to translate his appreciation for nature and divine inspiration into the physical fabric of this astounding church, I was again humbled and entranced. The depth and dynamism of his vision lit a spark inside me and I carried that sense of wonder with me through all my adventures.
Returning to Toronto with these memories still fresh, I am looking with wonder at everything around me and prevent myself from slipping into a jaded mindset. Gratitude - "the greatest virtue and the parent of all the others" - is the key. Albert Einstiein said: "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." in my post-vacation glow, I'm definitely feeling the latter.
Yoga - and particularly Tantra - tells us we full and complete; we simply need to wake up and remember our own splendour. We must remember and be grateful. For your breath, and for your body that houses your soaring spirit. For the people you love who bring joy and comfort, and for the people who challenge you and teach you patience, compassion and fortitude. For the full spectrum of human experience that you're fortunate enough to have. Be grateful. Every day.