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  Read through my blog below by simply scrolling down the entries, or check out the essays below. I've chosen ones that I particularly enjoy--maybe you will too.

Friday, November 29, 2013

It's Okay Not to Feel Grateful

Yesterday we had our annual Thanksgiving Day practice at our yoga studio. It's one of our favorite events of the year. Everyone comes in cheerful and leaves sweaty, and the holiday is a wonderful opportunity to talk about gratitude--how healthy it is, and how it's a practice, and how we have the chance in every moment to recognize the beauty right in front of us.

After class, one student came out crying. "I'm a wreck!" she said. "I'm down six people this Thanksgiving." Between the tragic death of a dear friend, the subsequent fallout from that tragedy, and her kids' work obligations, this poor woman's usual holiday celebration was much smaller than last year.

I gave her a hug. She said, "I know I'm supposed to be grateful. But I'm having a hard time mustering it up this year."

So I said, "Forget about gratitude this year. It's okay not to feel grateful. Maybe next year."

All my life I've been interested in human emotion, the human spirit, our souls, our psyches--whatever you want to call that part of ourselves that is rooted in our bodies but seems to reach beyond our bodies. I feel it's part of my job as a yoga teacher to speak that language. I love talking about wonder, compassion, joy, surrender, forgiveness, and gratitude because I see that these are concepts that resonate with my students. When I talk about these human virtues and experiences, we all seem to take more pleasure in the yoga.

But I also know that forcing a feeling doesn't work. "To everything there is a season," and sometimes the seasons of our emotions don't line up with the calendar.

Do you feel shitty this Thanksgiving? Do you feel profoundly sad, or angry, or hurt, or resentful? Obviously you don't need anybody's permission to feel that way. But just in case it makes you feel better, here ya go: it's okay not to feel grateful on Thanksgiving.