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Adoption / Holidays

The Tao of Gratitude

My yoga teacher is hung up on gratitude. Got something good going on? Show gratitude! Got something bad going on? Show gratitude! She focuses on opening our hips and expanding our hearts because “open hips = happy heart.” And a happy heart is a grateful one.

After a stretchy sequence to eke open our hips more — more — MORE — the instructor closed our practice with this quote during savasana, the pose of total relaxation at the end of class:

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.

— Melody Beattie

Those words led to big emotions on my mat.

My journey through infertility and adoption flashed before my eyes. My sickly, failure-of-a-body has evolved into something I love, both in the way it looks and functions. The dark days during which I nearly lost the will to live were juxtaposed with the brilliant light I found in an online infertility community. My empty arms and longing heart gave way to a fantastically full home — basketballs, laundry, toys and the two children who leave those things all over. Everyday chaos is balanced by the calm stillness I find when I draw my attention solely to the space on my mat.

Yin yangIn my mind’s eye were a thousand tao symbols, each one symbolizing the duality of yin/yang becoming the unity of The Tao.

  • Day + night = a day
  • Good + evil = humanity
  • Passionate Democrats + passionate Republicans = Americans
  • Broken + forgiveness = wholeness
  • An Infertile + a superfertile  = open adoption
  • Self-loathing + self love = me

It was bliss. I felt gratitude for every single thread in the tapestry that is my life.

May your November be full of things to be grateful for.

Images: and digitalart /

Lori blogs from metro-Denver at Her book, The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole, written with her daughter’s birth mom, will be published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2013.

Lori Holden
Author: Lori Holden

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  1. Timely topic for November and lovely topic. I’ve been thinking a lot of about gratitude, especially when we have so much that is given to us. I have one child in particular who is not grateful so I’ve tried to make it a daily practice in November to write down what we’re grateful for and put it on our gratitude tree.

    And then serving the less fortunate. We have a food bank visit tonight and then we’re serving Thanksgiving dinner at a woman’s homeless shelter. Hoping these will resonate with our kids.

    • I like the idea of a gratitude tree! And volunteering is always a good way to get a person outside of himself. Or herself.

  2. Beautifully written. I am grateful for the amazing hearts that have touched my own and held my hand along this journey.

  3. Here’s one of my pin boards that you might enjoy, it’s called BE GRATEFUL.

    • Oh, I just “Liked” several of them. And I like the way you think…errrr, thank!

  4. Oh, how easy it is to forget to be grateful. I feel so self-centered when I look around and see pain!

  5. I’ve been extremely grateful lately. We live in NYC and with everything that has been happening with hurricane Sandy and a freak snowstorm yesterday, my family escaped the devastation many are going through. I do not take this for granted.

  6. Gratitude is way under-rated, and this is a great reminder. Your story is inspirational and frankly, I’m going to bookmark it and use it to inspire some positive change in my own life. xoo

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