The Spirit of Bear has come into my life to teach me about gratitude. In the way of the Bear, gratitude is known as the wide-open welcoming of the gifts. This is heartfelt receiving. Honoring. Appreciating. The gifts. The giver. The opportunity. The connection. Allowing plenty of space, a wide-open embrace, for the flow of the exchange, for the rippling effects of the giving and receiving to unfold.
The Spirit of Bear showed me that gratitude, like love, isn’t conditional. Genuine gratitude isn’t rooted in judgments of better-than or less-than. Saying ‘thank you’ while feeling resentful or angry, while judging the gift or the giver as not-enough or too-much, is a confusing, distorted, inauthentic exchange.
How can we walk with Bear medicine, with a wide-open welcoming of the gifts, in the everyday moments of our everyday lives?
Open your eyes and heart to see yourself, others, and life through the lens of gratitude. Notice colors and sounds. Slow down and acknowledge the gifts of each breath, of each bite of food. Be curious about someone else’s creative expression or point of view.
Set aside the gadgets that impede your receptivity to the people sitting at the table with you or bagging your groceries in the store. Share a smile. Connect eye to eye. Acknowledge what you appreciate.
Untangle from the habit of using empty words. Feel the energy of gratitude, appreciation, respect, love before you say anything. Let your spoken words and inner world be congruous. Speak with your heart.
Bring Bear into your awareness as a guide. Listen to the callings of the Spirit of Bear to open wide your embrace of heartfelt appreciation and loving regard for the gifts of life.
What are you grateful for?