While living in NYC I discovered a wonderful little yoga studio called Yoga Vida off Washington Square. It was on the 11th floor of an office building. The space had warm lighting and wood floors, lavender or eucalyptus mists gently wafted through the air. It was delightfully inviting, particularly on the soul crushingly cold and dark New York winter evenings. I’m pretty sure I discovered it because of how inexpensive their pricing was – classes were just $12, $10 if you bought a package. This was pre the era where we succumbed to $30 45 minute work out classes, a price point that still makes me cringe as I hand over my credit card at Core40. Yoga Vida was a marked upgrade from the donation based yoga class I was going to on St. Marks that smelled like a compost bin and forced you to be uncomfortably close to the person next to you due to space constraints. I was willing to double my investment from $5 in yoga classes and opt for the more comfortable, serene space of Yoga Vida. My favorite instructor was a woman named Cat who had kind eyes and long brown hair. She was a dancer and this was her side gig. She made the best yoga playlists (to this day Perpetuum Mobile still reminds me of her class) and she would always spot you if you forgot your mat or water bottle, she trusted that you would pay back the fee in time. Trust her modus operandi, you could feel her believing the best of your human nature.
Once in class, she read a little vignette about gratitude from a book called “The Power of Kindness” (which I highly recommend) that has always stuck with me.
“Gratitude…does not depend on courage or strength or talent. It is based on our incompleteness. If we do not hide it from ourselves we can receive the goodness that life offers us and we can be grateful. The great sense of relief that comes with gratitude derives from the recognition that we cannot manage alone….think of all the people in your life to whom you can be grateful…there are plenty of people…If I think of everyone in my life to whom I can feel grateful an interesting thing happens. Bit by bit I realize that all I have has come from others…there are a fantastic variety of ways we all have for making another human being feel better.”
I love to read and re-read this quote around Thanksgiving and I should probably make it a daily habit. It reminds me of how incredibly blessed I am to have so many amazing people in my life and the infinite number of people I am unconsciously reliant on. From the barista at the french cafe next door to my best friends who walk with me through life’s sorrows and joys. My life is so much better because I have the opportunity to share it and grow with the people around me. I am reminded how grateful I am to be sharing with my life with so many amazing friends and the completeness they bring to my life. Through all the love, support and friendship we’ve shared I live an incredibly rich, fulfilled life! I have too many experiences to enumerate that give me so much happiness to reflect on, from all the laughs we’ve had over the years to the talks and the dinners and the sleepovers! And a funny thing happens when you tap into that feeling of gratitude, all your worries, all the negativity floating around in my life, vaporizes. I’m suddenly overcome with a feeling of warmth and abundance. There’s good reason why many psychologists and mystics have said start and end your day thinking of three things you are grateful for, it’s good for the soul!