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Columns Soul on Fire

Soul on Fire: A spirited, grateful heart is a universal soul on fire

I’ve been questing with the readership all through North County featuring landmarks of enlightenment, and most roads lead back home. Just by living in North County, not only do we have access to spirituality, we are walking with spirit everywhere, even within if we acknowledge it.

If home is where the heart is and your heart and soul are connected, what is the spark that ignites the fire?

Well, I was wondering where spirit was going to lead me with my next column. It’s tough to follow up on the VGs experience. I mean, what’s better than that?

It seems like all the columns circle back to taking a look at yourself and going within. And that is where I’m headed this week. To the heart. The heart in each of us. The heart of humanity.

Having just come off feeding over 150 people at Seaside’s annual Thanksgiving Day Community Potluck, I was pretty high. My heart was pushed wide open with the biggest helping of gratitude I’ve ever experienced. It seems like such a small thing, to feed people.

I’ve worked in plenty of soup kitchens in my day, but this was a topper. It had me walking away with a new appreciation for what it actually means to be grateful.

Service to others, or seva, is my quickest path to gratitude.

As I was mulling the idea for this week, gratitude started popping up everywhere, along with rainbows. I’m totally grateful for rainbows of all kinds — morning, afternoon, evening rainbows. Over the ocean, in the east, to the south, it doesn’t matter. They make me feel alive. So many people shared them on social media and in texts — all on Thanksgiving Day. It was quite something.

One can hardly keep themselves from being grateful when they see a rainbow in the sky. It seemed the whole world was in a blissful state of gratitude.

If we can control our thoughts and program our thinking to stay in gratitude for all of life’s experiences, not just the rainbows, our lives could remain in a perpetual state of bliss. We might be able to actually experience heaven on earth.

Neuroscience has revealed that gratitude literally rewires your brain to be happier, so why wouldn’t you want to think grateful thoughts. Most every motivational speaker on the circuit these days has gratitude at the center of their teachings. You can’t be angry and grateful simultaneously. You can’t be fearful and grateful at the same time, either.

Oprah says if you can’t find anything to be grateful for, you can start with your breath. Good one, Oprah. 

The fact we are alive — on this planet, in this galaxy, in this era, in this state, in this county, in this zip code. We hit the jackpot here in North County. You really have to struggle to be miserable when you live in the sweet spot of the universe.

I have dozens of friends who won’t start their day until they have written at least five things they are grateful for.

This can move from things like rainbows and a roof over your head, to our country, our evolution, even the things that on the surface don’t appear to be positive. Let’s take grief, for example. Grief can actually bring about a feeling of gratitude. After all, losing someone and experiencing grief is a sign that you loved deeply. That’s not a small thing. You gotta be grateful for having loved. It is a gift not afforded to everyone, after all.

When you can take any of life’s experiences, even those that are labeled as challenges and perceive them as moments to become grateful to be alive, then you are tapping into enlightenment. Don’t just take my and Oprah’s word for it.

Deepak Chopra said, “Gratitude opens the doorway to the power, the wisdom, the creativity of the universe. You open the door through gratitude.”

So do you have to see it to believe it, or believe it first, then see it? Or does one just need to be open to life and all the experiences of being human? 

The Dali Lama said, “Every day think as you wake up how fortunate you are to be alive. Say to yourself, ‘I have a precious human life. I am not going to waste it. The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness.’”

The path to enlightenment isn’t for the faint of heart. Still, if you can live life with a grateful heart, then every experience that comes your way can be met with an attitude of, “Let’s do this life!” because you have made the conscious decision to live your very best life.

You can start to treat every single thing that comes your way as if you scripted it yourself. You can create a life beyond your wildest dreams. By doing so, your soul will surely be on fire, perhaps lighting the way for others to find their own path into Enlightenment. And that is truly something to be grateful for.