November 21, 2021

Sitting down for a few moments of ease, with only coffee or tea and the written words of others as companions … one of my favorite things to do. I find solace and refuge in these moments of connection with someone I have never met but come to know through their penned lens of the world. My very favorite are collections of poems … the epitome of grace on the page. This is why the compilation of poetry How To Love: Poems of Gratitude and Hope (edited by James Crews) has been my counterpart these last few weeks as I have made it my practice to reflect on gratitude in a myriad ways. 

Crews has gathered this delightfully inspiring collection of works to inspire us to be more mindful of our everyday sources of gratitude and hope, with a broader intention to help us cultivate a deeper and more enduring sense of joy. He asks, in his forward to the collection, “are you happy to be alive?” and invites the reader, through the poems and opportunities for contemplation he calls “reflective pauses,” to tune in to appreciation, hopefulness and connection, all with the above end in mind. From the author:  
“During these uncertain and trying times, we tell ourselves that joy is an indulgence we can no longer afford. And we’ve become all too familiar with the despair filling the airwaves and crowding our social media feeds, leading to what psychologists now call empathy or compassion fatigue, whereby we grow numb and disconnected from the suffering of others. We want to stay informed about what’s going on in the world, yet we also know that absorbing so much negativity leaves us drained and hopeless. We know it’s robbing us of the ability to be present to our own experience and grateful for something as simple as the moon, which is here, as Lahab Assef Al-Jundi points out, ‘to illuminate our illusion’ of separateness from one another.”

I am so grateful for my love of reading, and from this love has blossomed a love of writing too … my own journey of finding my voice through the written word. This is why I invite all of you to bring forth your inner poets! For your practice this week, maybe take some “soul time” (like Crews himself does on the daily) to reflect on what you are grateful for in your life, or on some source of hope or joy, and see if you can string together some words — poetry or prose will do (see below for mine!). Have a holiday week full of moments you will cherish, and be sure to take the time to notice and please share your words of gratitude with us at Sangha or on Facebook. 😊

 I Remember
The whistles and cheers of the game
on TV as I busy myself with Sunday afternoon chores
take me back to the Friday night lights of 16 …
Neon dreams and hope for lasting first love …
Moments of youth ticking by like the clock on the 
final quarter of the only almost-victory of the season.
Loves lost, dreams still came true. 

With so much Metta — 
Nikki and the Sacred Treehouse faculty 

Nicole Davis is a licensed psychologist practicing at Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches Dr. Davis starts with the core belief that each person already has everything they need to live a life of joy and fulfillment, and that therapy is just a process of uncovering their inherent wholeness. Dr. Davis gently invites her clients to uncover their strengths in a safe and non-judgmental environment. Dr. Davis completed MBSR facilitator training through the Center for Mindfulness at UCSD. Dr. Davis is also a 200-hour trained yoga teacher registered with Yoga Alliance. 

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