Years ago I taught a popular course at the American University called Modern Theories of Health and Wellness, based on the quadrants of the wellness paradigm (mind, body, spirit and emotions) where the whole is always greater than the sum of the parts. Often, I would bring in guest speakers to give the students a “real world” flavor to the course, and this semester was no different. Through some great connections, I invited a Lakota Sioux Native American to class to share his views of human spirituality. The night class went three hours (7-10 p.m.) and I offered him the entire evening. As is customary with such a speaker, I began the class by offering some tobacco. My students then got in line to offer a token gift of thanks as well (for some reason, one student even brought a can a baked beans?) After the exchange of gifts, the room became extremely quiet. Our guest speaker pulled an eagle feather out of his medicine pouch and holding it in his right hand, looked up toward the heavens and began to pray a prayer of gratitude. He began with words to thank the Creator, the Great Mystery, who makes all things. He gave thanks to Mother Earth for the sustenance of food that nourishes our bodies. He spoke of the need for balance as we walk gently on the back of Mother Earth. He thanked the rain and the rivers of water that nurture the rivers of blood through our muscles. He gave thanks to the energies of the four directions, north, south, east and west, and the symbolic gifts they offer. He gave thanks to the winds that fill our lungs with air so that we may breathe our own words of thanks. He gave thanks to the five senses that we may appreciate the winds, the earth, the water, the food, every day. He gave thanks to the animals and birds and then proceeded to list several hundred by name which took several minutes. In fact, his prayer of thanks, which left no stone unturned, took nearly an hour. It was on that day that all of us really learned the meaning of gratitude, taking nothing for granted, even the simplest of things in our lives.
Stress Tip for the Day:
This Thanksgiving, when you give thanks, think beyond the usual and obvious. Give thanks, by name, to everything— even if it takes you an hour! Make everyday a day of gratitude!
Quote for the Day:
“Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods. All are holy in the memory and experience of my people. We know the sap that courses through the trees as we know the blood that courses through our veins. We are part of the earth and it is a part of us. Perfumed flowers are our sisters. The bear, the deer, the great eagle; these are our brothers.” —Chief Seattle, 1855
Photo for the Day:
As I begin to make preparations for some dinner guest this evening…. I give thanks as well. Enjoy!
Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.