A story from my own life.
A few years ago I felt like throwing an elegant party my birthday.
I decided to do it at a wonderful local restaurant, in a cozy and comfortable banquet room that felt just right.
I believe we had about 25 people at the party, seated at four tables, 6 people per table or so. It was an intimate gathering of friends, where most people knew each other very well.
Dinner was served, then desert. "Happy Birthday" was sung and I blew out my candles. The toasts were about to start, when I got up and said something unexpected.
"Let's do something different tonight," I said.
"I want to dedicate this evening to gratitude. I want everyone to take turns and to speak about what you are grateful for in yourself."
Their eyebrows raised, my friends were shifting in their seats. What????
"No, not the things you have achieved, like a great family, friends, success at work, a wonderful house you bought or built because of your accomplishments, not the car you love, not your good health ...
"These all wonderful, and clearly something you are grateful for.
"But instead of talking about them, tell us about the qualities in you that are grateful for. What you like about yourself as a human being. Like kindness, thoughtfulness, caring, ability to forgive, hunger for spirituality, pursuit of personal growth..."
The longer I spoke, the more inspired I felt. I was getting so excited it was contagious, I could see my friends getting
excited as well. The temperature in the room was rising high.
"But Auriela, how could you? Don't you know how immodest it is to brag about yourself? Wouldn't they then be in their ego? How can you just ask people to praise themselves? Someone else has to do it... ."
I beg to differ.
You are only in your ego if you speak from your ego.
Only if by acknowledging the beautiful things in you, you mean that you are somehow superior. Better than others.
Owning your light is not bragging.
It is simply standing in your power and refusing not to be who you are.
It is admitting the truth to yourself: Yes, I am that powerful, that loving and that kind. Or, I am that forgiving and accepting of others and I am also a helpful friend. (If these are your qualities.) And if they are not, admitting and acknowledging the ones that are.
Because if you won't own them in yourself, how can you expect others to do it?
Acknowledge them, feel grateful for having them. Some of them you are born with, others you have developed.
There is tremendous power in owning your light. And this power scares you.
What will be asked of me? Worse, what would be expected or demanded of me?
And what if I fail? What if I can't deliver? ...
Scary? Yes. Powerful and exhilarating? You bet!
You see the beauty in other people. You often tell them about it. What about your own beauty?
This is what I wanted to do at my birthday party. To have my friends look at themselves with gratitude and then - to speak out loud about what they saw.
To speak it and to be heard and witnessed, thus - grounding it, making it real.
The room was suddenly quiet. I was so excited I could barely contain myself.
Once again I repeated my request. Once again I clarified it.
"Who wants to be first?" I asked.
There was a pause... And then - it began.
One by one and without particular order my friends rose to the occasion and met themselves!
A single mother spoke about how grateful she was for her courage, and for her incredible perseverance...
A man in his 40ies spoke about how loving he was and how natural it was for him to just let go and to not hold a grudge...
Another man shared how happy it made him to know that he was always there for his family and that they could always count on him...
A young woman spoke about being a loyal friend.
Another spoke about her passion for living, and how grateful she was that she never lost it, no matter how hard life used to be.
What can I say?
It was unbelievable. Each person held a mirror for another.
We forgot about the cake, we forgot about time. The waiters, sensing something sacred was going on, stood motionless, as if in reverie. The magic in the room was palpable, everyone's face was lit, more beautiful than I've ever seen.
It was electric, the energy rising with each sharing.
I was the last one to go.
"I am grateful for being me," I began.
I said a lot of things that were true for me then, and just like with everyone else that evening, acknowledging them out loud made me feel as if I suddenly had grown wings.
Some of the things I said I remember, some I don't.
I will tell you what I am grateful for in myself today.
And in return, would you do the same thing?
Write your own list. Thanksgiving is in 3 days. What better time than now?
Do it for you. Give yourself this gift. It will change your life in ways you can't even imagine right now.
I will be honored if you share it with me and I will keep it like a very precious gift.
I will be happy to post it here in the next blog if you give me permission, (with your name or without, whatever you say.)
Or share it with someone who is trustworthy and will support you. And if you don't have such a person, don't share it until you do.
Here is my partial list, the real one is too long:
-I am grateful for the gift of being able to love so deeply.
-For my incredible imagination.
-For my ability to think well, to feel with the richness and depth,
and to have perspective, to no longer be run by my feelings.
-I am grateful for my ability to trust myself, for my knowing that the good will always prevail, that there is a higher order and a bigger picture and that I am never alone...
-I am grateful for my gift to inspire, especially, to inspire myself, for without it I cannot live.
-For my always reaching for freedom, regardless of the circumstances.
-For never giving up, for my ever-present hope that is part of who I am.
-For knowing what matters and what doesn't
-For being clear on my most important priorities
-For being born with a happy disposition, for my innate optimism
-For the courage, that is so much a part of me
-For my spirituality, so rich is so real, and so all - encompassing.
A partial list, like I said. Why then am I so moved?
Write your own, and you will experience it too.
It was an amazing party that I will never forget. We didn't want it to end and we took its magic home with us.
Perhaps you will be inspired to try it this Thanksgiving, or at another time that feels right.