A Holiday Meditation

A Holiday Meditation

Each week our team at Mind Body Align gathers on Tuesday afternoons for a brief group mindfulness meditation. It’s a chance to connect not just as colleagues but as humans “being”.  This was my week to lead and I really felt pulled toward this fabulous meditation from Jack Kornfield as our monthly topic of gratitude was coming to a close plus we are all about to celebrate Thanksgiving.

I love the way it reminds us to begin our gratitude meditation by recognizing the way we feel and how we have cared for ourselves, then we express gratitude for all things and finally we move to express gratitude for others and wish them joy.

We were so moved by the words that we began our Coffee Talk with the meditation and now we want for you to be able to access it throughout the holiday season and beyond.

Meditation on Gratitude and Joy by Jack Kornfield

Let yourself sit quietly and at ease. Allow your body to be relaxed and open, your breath natural, your heart easy. Begin the practice of gratitude by feeling how year after year you have cared for your own life. Now let yourself begin to acknowledge all that has supported you in this care:

With gratitude I remember the people, animals, plants, insects, creatures of the sky and sea, air and water, fire and earth, all whose joyful exertion blesses my life every day.

With gratitude I remember the care and labor of a thousand generations of elders and ancestors who came before me.

I offer my gratitude for the safety and well-being I have been given.

I offer my gratitude for the blessing of this earth I have been given.

I offer my gratitude for the measure of health I have been given.

I offer my gratitude for the family and friends I have been given.

I offer my gratitude for the community I have been given.

I offer my gratitude for the teachings and lessons I have been given.

I offer my gratitude for the life I have been given.

Just as we are grateful for our blessings, so we can be grateful for the blessings of others.

Continue to breathe gently. Bring to mind someone you care about, someone it is easy to rejoice for. Picture them and feel the natural joy you have for their well-being, for their happiness and success. With each breath, offer them your grateful, heartfelt wishes:

May you be joyful.

May your happiness increase.

May you not be separated from great happiness.

May your good fortune and the causes for your joy and happiness increase.

Sense the sympathetic joy and caring in each phrase. When you feel some degree of natural gratitude for the happiness of this loved one, extend this practice to another person you care about. Recite the same simple phrases that express your heart’s intention.

Then gradually open the meditation to include neutral people, difficult people, and even enemies until you extend sympathetic joy to all beings everywhere, young and old, near and far.

Practice dwelling in joy until the deliberate effort of practice drops away and the intentions of joy blend into the natural joy of your own wise heart.

You can read the original post on Jack Kornfield’s website here

Service is a love language

Service is a love language

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others.

1 Peter 4:10

We have all been given specific talents and gifts.  We are all called to serve. Whether in our homes, offices, or communities, we feel the call.

At home, some of us have been called to be mothers.  The words maid, chef, and chauffeur sometimes feel awfully familiar.  The daunting tasks of laundry, dishes, homework, and taxiing from sport to sport, have us feeling like we are constantly treading water.  

When we work, we are trying to please our boss, client, or customer and hope that money keeps coming in the door, or that we get that next big break.

In our community we want to be involved, volunteer, and feel like we are a part of something “bigger” but… other commitments compete for our time.  

So… what if we change our thinking, our perception, or the way we view what we are doing?

I’ve always loved the quote by Maya Angelou…

“When we give cheerfully and accept thankfully, everyone is blessed.”  


It’s true, right?  Think of giving a gift to a special someone.  How does that make you feel? I think about when my kids are invited to a birthday party.  They are always so excited to go shopping for the present for the birthday boy or girl. They wait with anticipation until it’s time to open the gifts, just so they can see the face of the person who is opening and see how excited they are.  Giving to others brings them joy.

So, why not think the same of service?

Service is a love language that we can all speak, and in doing so, receive joy from.

Although I’m not sure laundry will ever be on my list of something that I enjoy doing, I have chosen to look at it as something that I can do to serve the ones I love.  When I grocery shop and prepare meals, I choose to be excited that I am able to serve my family with my cooking. When I take my kids from soccer to ballet, I can be excited that I am able to spend the time with them in the car, serving their needs while doing so.  

In our vocations, we can perceive what we are doing as a daunting task, or we can choose to use our talents to do our job and see that we are a part of something bigger than just the task at hand.

In our communities, we can choose to use our gifts to serve in whatever way we can, and that can bring us joy.  

There are so many ways to use our God-given gifts to serve others that even the littlest of things count, such as:

  • The next time you go to the store, try holding the door for the person behind you.
  • When you are on the road, let a car go in front of you in a traffic jam.
  • When you are out to eat, stack the plates and tidy up for your waitress.
  • Tomorrow morning, pick up coffee for a co-worker that might need a little pick-me-up.
  • At work, tell your boss how much s/he is appreciated.  
  • The next time you are in a store, at the mall or on a walk—smile at a stranger passing by.  

Serving comes in so many forms in all areas of our lives.  I challenge each of you to get out there today and change your way of thinking.  Don’t think of the “daunting tasks” that need to get done. Don’t think of “all the things on your plate”. Be excited that you are living on this earth today and that you have the ability to change your perspective. Be grateful that you are given this opportunity to give (serve) cheerfully, and then accept thankfully.  Everyone will be blessed.

Answering the call can bring us such joy if we just choose to be the faithful stewards that we were called to be.

Align Your Inbox!Sign up for great content to feed your mind, body & soul.

Look forward to receiving the ALIGN Newsletter published monthly!  We'll keep you up to date with the latest events, classes, and happenings at Mind Body Align.