Tag Archive for gratitude

India: The One Moment That Left the Biggest Impression

I’m getting butterflies in my belly as I order supplies and sort my stuff to pack before heading back to the United States of America soon!!!  I haven’t seen my family in a year.  This is the longest I’ve been away from my baby girl and I’m feeling a wave of emotions flow through me.  Living in a third-world country for the past year has really changed my entire perspective on everything.

There have been a lot of moments that have impressed upon me; moments of amazement at how folks here in India live on a daily basis.  I’ve seen houses literally made of mud with grass roofs.  I’ve seen people here washing clothes by hand and beating them on cement.  I’ve seen women here carrying loads on the top of their heads that most women in my country couldn’t carry with two hands.  Driving past fields in the early morning and watching the farmers honor their animal, giving it an early morning bath by hand.  But, aside from the many spiritual blessings I have received int his country, the moment that has left the biggest impression on me is when I was in Tirruvanamalia with my friend, Caz.

We had stopped at a shop to get some fruit and water for morning.  An elderly, emaciated woman approached us.  Most of her teeth were missing and her clothes were dull and tattered.  She motioned to ask for money.  My friend, not having any cash (or food) on her, handed this woman all she had to offer in that moment; a half-used bottle of warm water.  I was so shocked at what I saw next.  If some stranger came up to me in my home town asking for money and I handed him a half-used up bottle of warm water that I’d been carrying around and drinking from all day (and probably back-washed my lunch into), that stranger would look at me like I was from Pluto.  But this woman?  I’ve never seen anything like it.  Her face lit up like she was three years old on Christmas morning!  She graciously accepted the bottle and was visibly elated!

You see, to this woman, it wasn’t just a bottle of water.  That old, thin plastic bottle?  It was a prize in and of itself.  It was tool. She could use it to transport water or soap.  She could use it to bathe with.  She could use it to store things.  It was a prized possession, not a common house hold item.  Seeing someone so full of gratitude for a used up, warm bottle of water?  This one moment, it was just a few seconds; a flicker of a moment in time.. but it changed my life forever.  It made me realize all of the little things in every single day that I have to be grateful for in this life.  It made me think, what if I were so poor, that a used up, warm bottle of water was like gold to me?

Today, I get down on my knees and humbly bow down to my divine, filled with so much gratitude that tears trace tracks on my cheeks, and give thanks for this experience, and for the realization of all the things big and small, that I have to be grateful for every single hour of every single day that I am alive on this Earth.  Thank you, God.

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Much love and many blessings to you!

Jodi

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Searching for Gratitude

Today, I’m grateful that I can find the silver lining in this cloud, even though I feel so down in the dumps right now… after three months of being away, I returned to my (shared) apartment in Karnataka only to find some my kitchen belongs (which are clearly marked with my name) either gone, dipped into, or completely used up.  Depressing.    

So.. as I sit here feeling grouchy and frustrated at the lack of morals in this world; with my head aching, trying to tune out the sound of the workers demolishing the building next door and the constant onslaught of vehicles honking (really, there is not even a two-second moment of silence on this street corner, except maybe between 2AM-5AM), a Force inside gently nudges me to reach deep and find something, anything(!) for which to be grateful.  

“Can’t I just bask in my grouchiness?”, I asked this Force.  

The response I got was that no matter how bad we think we’ve got it, there is always someone worse than us.  Suddenly, a picture flashed in my mind of the deformed man on the beach in Kerala, whose body was stuck in a sort of permanent squatting position.  Yet he still got up every single day, got dressed, and was out on that beach making a living.  He didn’t get the choice to walk.  He had to hobble, much like a gorilla, using his arms as legs.  And even though he has long legs, he will never get his height measured in any taller than the height of his squat – about two and a half to three feet.  Suddenly, a surge of gratitude pulsed through me and I began to feel grateful that I have legs and they work and I can stretch them out and run and walk and skip.  

“Thank you”, I told the Force, “Do it again!  Show me another.”

Soon, another image flashed in my mind, of the man that would come to our table each day at the beach in Kerala, emaciated, wrinkled and dressed in rags.  This man didn’t speak English but still, he spoke my language.  He spoke with his eyes.  He spoke with his heart.  He never said the word, “Please”, but his eyes said everything I needed to ‘hear’ (I’m literally swallowing back tears as I type this right now).  And each day, I would pull ten or twenty rupees out of my pocket and place it gently in his hand.  He also never spoke the word, “Thank you”, but every day after I gave him the money, he would squeeze it gently, still looking me in the eyes with gratitude, tap his hand to his heart, then to his forehead, and smile.  Although half his teeth were missing, it’s one of the most beautiful smiles I’ve ever seen.  This one scene alone provided so much to be grateful for, I could spend a whole day writing about it.

Through these gifts I’ve been shown, I was able to step back into the Present Moment and find the silver lining in this cloud.  Today, I am grateful for the morals and values and standards that my parents instilled in me.  I’m so grateful for the parents I was blessed with in this lifetime.  I’m grateful that, through my upbringing and God’s Grace, I have the gift of being sensitive to the needs of others.  I’m grateful that, although I’m sleeping with a bandana over my face so as not to inhale the vehicle fumes and demolition dust (without the windows open it would likely be unbearably hot in my apartment), I do have a roof over my head and food on the table – and not just any food – but good, wholesome vegetables and fruits.  I’m grateful that I am well enough now to cook that food, for I can remember a time when I was so sick that I didn’t have the strength and energy to cook a meal, let alone eat it.  And I am incredibly grateful for the man in my life who, despite my grouchiness, has graciously shown me more patience than I may deserve at times.  He is one of the strongest men I know, mentally and emotionally.  I don’t think God could’ve picked a better man for me.  Truly.  

If you’re ever stuck where you can’t think of anything to be grateful for, you could always close your eyes, take a few steady, deep breaths; ask your divine to connect with you or come into your heart and, once you feel a sense of peace or stillness come over you, ask your divine to show you what you have to be grateful for in this moment.

So?  What about you?  What are you grateful for today?

Love and Blessings to you!

Jodi

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