Thankful Thursday: Gratitude & Loving Kindness

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While this week has brought deep breaths, sighs, and a sense of resignation across this country there is still plenty of angst, discontentment, and fear among us. My first instinct is to go dark during these times because I honestly can’t stand the drama nor do I want to unintentionally elicit any negativity.
This week, however, I warily ventured back into social media, reading, writing and actively looking for the light.  As I was reading, I came across Gabrielle Bernstein’s book, “Miracles Now.”  I was certainly thinking we could all use one, but mostly I was looking for some inspiration and guidance. I found it in what I thought was an unlikely section of her book called, “Dish Out Compliments Sincerely and Liberally.”  This wasn’t exactly what I was feeling amongst the fear and hate.  I was looking more for the section called, “can’t we all just shut up and get along?”
Over this brief page and a half she spoke about loving kindness and our vagus nerve “which regulates the heart and controls inflammation in the body.  This nerve literally meanders through out the entire body therefore wielding it’s power and influence all over.” So, what do loving kindness and the vagus nerve have to do with each other? Practicing loving kindness toward ourself and others not only has a positive emotional effect, but it also has a biological impact. Research has proven that being kind to others actually reduces inflammation throughout our bodies.
Bernstein states, “Our true nature is to be kind and loving toward all.  Unfortunately, we lose sight of our true kindness when the fear based ways of the world set in.”  Basically, with all this fear and hate we are spewing we are all just walking around with inflamed bodies and minds. Our hearts are racing and in a state of constant anxiety (Otto Loewi).
Quite literally when we take a few deep breaths, we begin to regulate our vagus nerve, which not only calms our racing heart, but also helps us to mellow.  Add in some loving kindness toward our friends and family (Frederickson and Kok) and we have entered a whole new ballgame of peace, love and gratitude just in time for Thanksgiving.
Many of us will be spending time over the next week with family and friends for the holidays.  Let’s take some time out from the worries of the world and truly be thankful for one another this year. You can begin with me today.  Start dishing out those compliments and for an added boost, practice some Loving Kindness Meditation for 5 minutes each day.
I received this simple mantra from a Meditation Class with Anne Marie McKelvey.  Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit and repeat these 4 sentences daily for 5 minutes:
May you now be filled with loving kindness
May you now be safe and protected
May you now be resilient in mind and body
May you now live with ease and joy….
For more Loving Kindness Meditations click here.
Peace, Love & Kindness,
Lowi & G

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