To connect with the spirit of Thanksgiving, earlier this month, seekers came together at Dominican Center for a Write Your Heart Out session focused on gratitude. Using stillness, writing prompts, sharing, and supportive feedback, writers explored and expressed what gratitude means to them. One writing prompt, a quote from Rumi, 13th-century Persian poet and Sufi mystic, moved writer Teri Burns to reflect on the many ways we can live with an intentional attitude of gratitude.
There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the ground.
Gratitude isn’t about one single thing or one single practice. It is an attitude for living. Like getting off a turbulent plane ride and kissing the ground in gratitude for being back on land. Or kneeling next to my mother’s bed as she lay dying and telling her how much I love her, even if I wasn’t the best daughter in the world. Or kneeling beside a child’s bed and watching her sleep. Or kissing the forehead of my grandson. We have thousands of opportunities to stop and kneel and kiss the ground every day, honoring the One who gives us life and love.
Kneeling forces us to stop, to be present in the moment, to appreciate the now and what is at hand.
Kneeling humbles us, pulls us out of ourselves, lowers us so that others can be raised up. Humility is an important aspect of gratitude; seeing beyond the self to what really matters. Kissing the ground honors the present, the good in what is before us. Like kneeling, it humbles us before what is here and now. We give thanks for that person or object or moment.
Kneeling and kissing take physical effort. Gratitude takes effort. It is an intentional attitude, a conscious decision to see life through the eyes of love. When we practice gratitude, we become aware of all that is around us, the thousands of opportunities to touch the Divine, to grow in wisdom and in love.
Written by Teri Burns, Director of Faith Formation at St. Robert Newminster Church
Write Your Heart Out is a writing circle facilitated by Sandra Mitchell, certified coach and writer. Using stillness, writing prompts, sharing, and non-judgmental feedback, these reflective writing experiences are open to writers of all levels. As you put pen to paper, observe the emotions that pour from you to help you discover your deepest truths, seek hope and possibility, and allow your heart’s energy to create both art and change.
Dominican Center Marywood at Aquinas College is a ministry of Dominican Sisters ~ Grand Rapids.