Beginning in the eighth grade I lived in the spurious bubble of my own mind. I based my priorities on my desire for acceptance from peers. This led to a dangerous lifestyle, and on August 23rd, 2015, my life changed forever. I was sent to Evoke's Wilderness Therapy program in Santa Clara, Utah. Before jumping into this incredible experience, I need to explain what led me here.
Viewing entries tagged with 'gratitude'
The first thing I know about encouraging gratitude in others is don’t tell them to feel grateful; encourage them to feel everything. Gratitude, for it to be deep and consistent in our lives, comes from a sense of wholeness. When we learn to feel everything, we are more likely to recognize the feelings of gratitude. As we more fully hold our pain, sadness and hurt, we will also come to see their connection to love and joy. That is, our pain and hurt are evidence of our capacity for connection and love. Holding our pain and hurt with gentleness and awareness, we will begin to connect it to the things in our lives we most value. Instead, we often try to block out or “escape” our pain and in doing so we limit our capacity to feel joy and love.
Having recently spent a fair bit of time away from Evoke at Entrada, I've come to realize even more how much I appreciate working here. I realize that the support and appreciation of employees at Entrada is something I've not seen nearly as much in many of the other places I've worked or volunteered.
I was overwhelmed with gratitude and connection to my clients’ empowerment after I walked up to my group this past Tuesday to begin the week’s therapy sessions. With a few new inches of snow on the group, patches of boot deep mud, and a biting chill in the air, a new wintery environment had finally happened after weeks of unseasonable warmth in Evoke at Entrada’s field area. As I arrived, the clients were stocking wood as a part of a service project at the Oasis. Upon approaching the group, I heard outcries of positivity from many of them. Multiple clients yelled out to me, saying, “Caitlin! We hiked so much this week through tons of snow!” and “This week was so hard! We made it!” with smiles on their faces and strength in their voices as they methodically created a woodpile next to the wood-burning stove in the yurt where they sleep.
The practice of loving kindness is most often associated with the Theraveda Buddhist tradition. This meditation practice, referred to as Metta, can be found in the Pali Cannon that dates back 2,500 years and is the traditional scriptures for Theraveda Buddhism. Although this practice has roots in Buddhist discipline, its practice has spread to the mainstream. Compassion meditations are often used with the 12 Step program, have been highly studied in the Western sciences particularly neuroscience and psychology, and being taught in our schools!