Reckless gratitude

Years and years ago in Ireland, I met this young woman whose name I can no longer remember. In fact, I don’t remember most of the circumstances of our meeting, only that we spent a few hours together in a home that had a young Saint Bernard puppy. The dog was only a few weeks old and was running around enthusiastically as all puppies do, but his giant size kept making carpets and furniture slide wherever he went. I only mention the dog because that’s the only backdrop I remember to the story of this young woman.

At some point of that evening, she shared with me how at a young age she was overcome by some mysterious debilitating disease that resulted in persistent excruciating pain. The prospect of any medical cure seemed unlikely and the future prognosis was grim. And yet after all these years, the key detail that I remember about our meeting is that her zest for life easily rivalled the enthusiasm of the aforementioned Saint Bernard puppy. Her eyes lit up when she spoke about how precious her days were. She was a devout Christian and found immense meaning in her pain by seeing it as a gift connecting her to Christ’s mysteries. She was full of intense knowing that she simply could not allow this condition to crush her and that each day was to be celebrated. The woman was high on life itself and radiated reckless gratitude that made absolutely no sense.

“We’ve been hypnotized and conditioned into believing that we need a reason for joy, that we need a reason for gratitude.”
Dr. Joe Dispenza

I hadn’t thought about her or that Saint Bernard for years until this morning. It feels like there is this intense reminder urging me – us – to use whatever feels like the greatest obstacle to joy and happiness as a stepping stone to reach just a little bit higher. We are being invited to flip it upside down and begin to treat each constriction as a doorway – right in this very moment – to practise in our mind and body the experience beyond it. We are being called to breathe in life and radiate reckless gratitude that makes absolutely no sense.


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