“When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” -Lao Tzu

This past weekend, a group of people from all over the Bay Area and one wonderful gal from Calgary, Alberta gathered together in the name of gratitude. We sat in community, reflected on what it means to be grateful and explored the countless possibilities and ways to practice gratitude in our everyday lives. Each and everyone of us came to the circle fully present and open: open to all the sharing, the kindness, the beauty, the grace and the gifts of seeing the present and what is to come with grateful eyes. We lifted our hearts, stretched our hands and bodies through our morning yoga practice and released anything within us that is not cultivating gratitude. Then with feet and knees planted deeply on the ground, we touched our hearts and minds to the open space beneath us and sought in earnest, support for our intentions.

It’s been days and I am still in bliss…I am still soaking in gratitude. I am so thankful to have come to Avalon, this magical place so giving and so healing with its rustic peace and magical spring waters flowing from the earth. I feel so rejuvenated and invigorated. And most of all, I feel my heart open…I have experienced non-stop gratitude from both Avalon and my new friends and have been bathing in joy since.  I wake up with a yearning to live more consciously, more mindfully;  to appreciate everything that I have, and to show appreciation daily. I feel so connected and such an integral part of this expansive universe. I am blessed and there is nothing more that I can ever want. Thanksgiving is this Thursday and I couldn’t ask for a better way to prepare for this wonderful season of love and generosity. And before I end this post, I would like to say that I am so grateful to my children, my parents, my family and friends.  I am grateful to the wonderful children, women, men and families who have allowed me to photograph them. I am grateful for my lines of work, my colleagues, my clients. I am grateful for my talents, my challenges, my body, my mind, my soul. I am grateful for my home and the food on the table. I am grateful for my faith, my community and my country. I am grateful for my joys and my fears, my insecurities and my accomplishments. I am grateful for my health and my life. I am grateful for every day that I get to wake up. I am grateful for you reading my blog. I am grateful for kind words, and honest advise. I am grateful for caring and not so caring people. I am grateful for technology. I am grateful for books. I am grateful for music, and rhythm and songs and words.  I am grateful for everything.

Last but not least, I am truly, truly grateful to Katia Sol for helping me establish a foundation to continue a daily gratitude practice and for teaching me to go deep into thankfulness.  A huge thank you to Salina Espinosa-Setchko for the yoga, the “bed”, the “scaffolding”, and the body tapping.  And to my new friends, I am grateful for your vulnerability, strength and courage.  I cannot wait for our check-ins and learn where our individual journey leads us.  Love to you ALL. 

By Owen Millado Donnahoo