resentments, gifts and lessons
Postponed (this workshop was originally scheduled for may 27, but will now be offered in Autumn 2017 - to register your interest, please mail me)
We are reminded almost daily that gratitude is good for us: it raises our mood, attunes us to appreciation and the positive things in our lives, and warms our bonds with others. But the territory of gratitude - and its' opposites: bitterness, resentment, entitlement - can feel quite complex inside us. We do not always feel grateful, we carry grudges or resentments we do not seem to overcome; however hard we try, many of us know our capacity for gratitude is tarnished by other, unresolved elements.
“Some people grumble that roses have thorns;
I am grateful that thorns have roses.”
― Alphonse Karr
This workshop offers us an opportunity to refine our understanding of gratitude and authentically enrich its presence within us. We do this in part by making room for the ways we not grateful, identifying where we feel aggrieved, unlucky or bitter, and how this lives in us. Acknowledging and respecting the truth of these frees up clarity and energy. Leonard Cohen often remarked that his practice of Zen helped him to learn to “stop whining.” This echoes the teachings of many Wisdom Traditions - which teach us ways to transform difficulties into resources we can genuinely appreciate the gifts of, rather than continuing to perceive them as obstacles.
“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
― Marcel Proust
We will also explore how we can develop a more mature, multi-faceted relationship to gratitude - drawing both on our capacity to feel gratitude and appreciation, but also to reflect and consider our lives in ways that amplify gratitude. Inspired by the writings of Marcus Aurelius - who opens his Meditations with 'Debts and Lessons' - a portrait of all those to whom he feels indebted and why - we will explore the inner community or micro-culture of those to whom we are indebted - whether relatives, teachers, artists, or friends. This allows us begin to 'curate' the abundance of gifts and 'lessons' each of us has received, however difficult parts of our lives may have been.
My wish for the day is that each participant is supported to deepen their understanding of gratitude and enrich their personal capacity to experience it in a way that is authentic and supportive.
Some excellent articles on gratitude can be found here: