My move was only a week away and I was still saying goodbyes.
I’d given away lots of pretty things, but there was one piece left: a gauzy dress with a billowy skirt and bedazzled bodice (a very flirty princess gown). I’d enjoyed it. I would miss it.
But I knew someone who would enjoy it even more…
Lily* loved clothes more than anyone I knew. She was the envy of the Grove–people always wanted to give her clothes. I too, was jealous for a time. Didn’t anyone want to give me something?
But when I gave Lily the dress, I understood.
As soon as she held it, she jumped and squealed, did a Sound-of-Music-Maria twirl, and then ran upstairs. When she emerged, she was not only wearing the dress, but also several beautiful necklaces and had done her hair up like she was off to Pagan prom.
“If someone gives you a dress,” she explained. “You gift back by wearing and accessorizing it.”
Lily’s gratitude made me want to give her all of my clothes.
The Universe may just work this way, too.
For me, Autumn Equinox is a season, not a day: a whole section of the year devoted to giving thanks. I don’t ask for much in my prayers and intentions during this time of year. Instead, I spend my altar and outdoor time giving as much thanks as I can. Sometimes I add, “I’m already grateful for the other blessings to come my way…no matter their package!”
I don’t want to sound as though being cash-poor or in ill-health is due to being ungrateful. I don’t believe that. No matter how grateful we may be, there are issues of race, class, and an oligarchy of economic and medical systems throwing a huge obstacle course.
But a good gratitude practice can steer other blessings our way.
I want to be like Lily. Here’s what I’ve been trying…
When my dog wakes me at 4 in the morning, I give thanks for his cold, wet nose and happy, sloppy kisses.
When I’m standing outside in the cold while he does his business, I give thanks that I am well enough to get out of bed.
If it’s cold and wet outside, I give thanks because there are plenty of places on the planet suffering from drought.
When I’d rather be working on my book than working my day job, I give thanks for having employment.
When I get a critical review on something I’ve written, I give thanks that my writing is reaching people (as for many years, it did not).
When I get angry, I give thanks for have a heart deep enough to care.
When I despair about the state of the world, I give thanks that I was born in a time when there is still opportunity to turn things around.
As I offer my gratitude, I imagine myself as Lily, spinning around and adorning myself in my blessings, and I hope the Universe is watching. I hope the Universe will send more gifts. I hope the Universe is blessed.
The greatest blessing may just be my perspective.
Giving thanks during this Autumn Equinox season for you, for reading this far…