Gratitude as an Antidote to Uncertainty

Fall has arrived and with it the call to settle into ourselves.
While it doesn't’t much feel like things are slowing down in my own life, the inward draw to quiet is especially present at this time of year, and for me of late.

A recent visit from yoga philosophy teacher Douglas Brooks unnerved me in the best possible way, escalating the deep digging I initiated in late summer. Maybe you’ve been feeling this inner gravity in your own life too?

Despite all of the things we have created as a culture to live outside of nature’s rhythms, including the many modern comforts I love, certainty is an idea, not a reality.  These last few weeks, as the leaves yellow and a curtain of rain carries them to the soil and pavement, I have been watching my attachment to knowing what’s next. This need seems somewhat biological, how would our predecessors have survived, in fact how would we have gotten here if not for planning and preparation in the face of unknowable changes around food, shelter and weather? Preparation is reasonable, wise and for survival purposes, necessary.

Yet, despite all our best preparations, we can never control the outcome. Arg! Does that make you crazy? It makes me crazy!

Living is, at the most basic level, a creative process. It’s not unlike what we’re witnessing outside with the turning of the leaves. There is a larger force at work that has both direction and rhythm. When the days grow shorter and the temperature drops, the energy of nature moves in and down following the rhythm of sun, earth and moon. It’s a template for form, something moderately reliable. And yet, it’s manifestations are ever-changing and unpredictable.

Living is also, at it’s deepest level, a creative process. This is about how we engage with life. What we do and how we respond to the ever-changing inner and outer environment we find ourselves in moment-to-moment, day-to-day, season-to-season.

Figuring out how to let go of certainty and relinquish control (ahh, so vulnerable!) while simultaneously making choices, taking a stand and casting our vote is a practice. It’s a BIG practice. In the face of such a challenge, (I am after all writing this on election night…) what is there to do?

My assessment? Practice gratitude.

The practice of gratitude starts with realizing we’re here. We're here! There is inherent value in our lives because we exist. We’ve been given the gift-and the task-of embodied life. There are an infinite number of choices and an infinite number of uncertainties we’ll encounter over the course of our day (not to mention our lives). When we can stop and settle into being, even for just a moment, gratitude often arises. 

It’s the salve that soothes our need to know what’s next. 

It keeps us connected to here and now in the softest, most generous way. There are no guarantees, there are however endless opportunities for gratitude.