Can one ever be unhappy when they are in a place of gratitude? I reflect on the question.

Much pleasure can be had in giving and receiving appreciation and you can certainly change your own and others’ state in an instant.

I think of the times I appreciate others especially those who took the courage to go out of their comfort zone to share their talents or passion to do good in the world. Of the merits of human nature, especially those of kindness and selfless actions from the heart.

Today is my last day here. I have much to be grateful for, the team who cooked all the meals, the teachers, the yoga practice, the meditation teachings, the mountains for their glorious exuberance and not to forget the gift to myself of being here. So much to appreciate.

Joy is glowing, she’s achieved such a lot. She’s cheerful about her weight loss and that she’s stopped drinking but most importantly she’s found a renewed connection to herself. Joseph is taking things in his stride and looks at peace. Seeing and knowing more of ourselves is part of growing up, not just existing as an automaton.

Spiritual teachings tell us to even appreciate the difficult times which is where most growth happens. Cautiously revisiting those places within with love and tenderness does bring a whole new reconnection and peace to unfinished ends. I find myself, albiet hesitantly, grateful for the appearance of some of those challenging times giving me the opportunity to learn and heal.

Fruit from the strawberry tree

As I look out over the mountains against the crisp clear blue sky, the sun beams fully, the brightness is strong but I like it. It draws on the essential oils of the plants and I cannot help but be captivated by the aromas of rosemary, lavender and pine. I reach out and pick the hanging fruit, from the strawberry tree. It tastes so sweet and bumpy.

Retreats have helped give me time and space to reflect on pathways within myself, but the everyday practice of awareness is a continuous process.  It matters more to continue the practice at home. It’s essential work to me.

I think about times when I pushed myself out of my comfort zone.  I find myself doing it more frequently, as though there’s a silent motivation to experience life, to experience more. Much excitement exists in the unknown, as does overcoming fear of the unknown, but it would be dull if every day was the same.

Life after all is to be lived fully.

A place so loved someone created this bench for others to look out over the mountain