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Natural Awakenings Richmond

Letter from The Publisher

Nov 27, 2020 11:32AM ● By Jessica Coffey

Jessica Coffey, Publisher

Dear Reader,

As 2020 comes to a close, I feel it’s more important than ever to choose to be grateful (there is always something to be thankful for!), to focus on things within my control and to work hard to make a positive difference. When it comes to gift-giving this holiday season, I want my focus to be more on creating memorable experiences and relationship-building and less on frenzied shopping and the accumulation of more stuff. I think I can find greater joy and happiness if I simply slow down, breathe more deeply (and more often) and enjoy the moment—being more present for myself makes me more present for those around me—a true gift! Too often, I’m thinking about what’s next or worrying about whether I did or said the right thing. Does this happen to you, too?

I have found that meditation and prayer is an excellent way to slow down and become more centered, more grounded and more present. This article by Jack Kornfield provides a beautiful meditation on gratitude and joy that I think can help take us all lovingly into the upcoming celebrations of the season—enjoy!

Giving Thanks: Meditation on Gratitude and Joy

By Jack Kornfield

I offer this meditation that opens our hearts to gratitude and joy this holiday season.

Let yourself sit quietly and at ease. Allow your body to be relaxed and open, your breath natural, your heart easy. Begin the practice of gratitude by feeling how that, year after year, you have cared for your own life. Now let yourself begin to acknowledge all that has supported you in this care:

With gratitude, I remember the people, animals, plants, insects, creatures of the sky and sea, air and water, fire and earth, all whose joyful exertion blesses my life every day.

With gratitude, I remember the care and labor of a thousand generations of elders and ancestors who came before me.

I offer my gratitude for the safety and well-being I have been given.
I offer my gratitude for the blessing of this Earth I have been given.
I offer my gratitude for the measure of health I have been given.
I offer my gratitude for the family and friends I have been given.
I offer my gratitude for the community I have been given.
I offer my gratitude for the teachings and lessons I have been given.
I offer my gratitude for the life I have been given.

Just as we are grateful for our blessings, so we can be grateful for the blessings of others.

Continue to breathe gently. Bring to mind someone you care about; someone it is easy to rejoice for. Picture them and feel the natural joy you have for their well-being, for their happiness and success. With each breath, offer them your grateful, heartfelt wishes:

May you be joyful.
May your happiness increase.
May you not be separated from great happiness.
May your good fortune and the causes for your joy and happiness increase.

Sense the sympathetic joy and caring in each phrase. When you feel some degree of natural gratitude for the happiness of this loved one, extend this practice to another person you care about. Recite the same simple phrases that express your heart’s intention.

Then, gradually open the meditation to include neutral people, difficult people and even enemies, until you extend sympathetic joy to all beings everywhere, young and old, near and far.

Practice dwelling in joy until the deliberate effort of practice drops away and the intentions of joy blend into the natural joy of your own wise heart.

Jack Kornfield is a bestselling author, Buddhist practitioner and a key teacher in introducing and spreading mindfulness practices in the West. For more information about his teachings, podcasts and books, visit

I wish you so much joy and happiness this holiday season. Please be safe and be well.