Happy holiday season to everyone! This season Lauren & I are reminded of the awesome power of gratitude. Celebrating with family and friends over Thanksgiving marks an annual ritual of expressing our appreciation. Hanukkah provides moments where we can practice both the art of giving and receiving gifts with gratitude. Ringing in the New Year allows us to be grateful simply for being and for gaining another year to enjoy life.
With all of the noise and cacophony of the holiday season and in general in the world, we wanted to offer a humble gift of gratitude for all of you in our extended Blue Star family. Every day we feel grateful to carry the torch into the 3rd generation of Blue Star leadership, and we so deeply appreciate all of you for being part of our community. In this exact moment we also invite you to pause for a few moments and take in the visual and auditory experience of Louie Schwartzberg’s TED talk entitled Nature. Beauty. Gratitude.
In it we might reconnect with the mindfulness concept of “beginner’s mind,” seeing every moment every day as if our eyes were opening to it for the very first time. We may be compelled to really look around us and observe our environment, opening our hearts to noticing “beautifuller” (i.e. more beautiful) things. Some of us will be transported right back to camp where we more easily can enjoy gazing at the blue sky in the “Cloud bursting” (or more simply put, “Sky”) special option. Or we might imagine ourselves sitting in the open air Elmore Solomon Chapel on a Friday evening, breathing in a moment of calm reflection during our powerful Shabbat services. Of course, being at camp in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains gives us all endless opportunities to appreciate nature and to simply be, comfortable being our best and most authentic selves.
Several years ago I learned a daily practice for intentionally cultivating a feeling of gratitude. I will share it here with an open invitation to everyone…Every night we might take a few moments to think about (or write down) three things for which we are grateful for that day. Simple moments where someone did something kind, whether for us or that we observed. An experience we had that day that lifted us up or made us feel happiness. Again, we are thankful for YOU!