I gathered acorns on the way to the studio today.
I typically kick them, or toss them at a passing squirrel to chase them away. It started with one for each of my children, then Dean, and another for my sister, my mother, my father and so on, until I had a nice big handful.
It got me thinking about the Autumnal Equinox, and how today marks the balance of light and dark, day and night. It reminded me that autumn is a time to reap the harvest, which led me to thinking about Thanksgiving, which led me to collecting even more acorns, for each thing I was feeling grateful for.
One for every blessing. I took the acorns, placed them on the altar at the studio, as an offering of my gratitude, and lit a candle. I taught most of my class from that space.
As each season changes, I find myself focusing on the next, setting goals, finishing business, looking ahead, all the while feeling full in my heart, for all the things I am blessed with, yet, never really taking the time to sit and reflect on: all that I have, and have accomplished. It seems to be a common theme, keeping so busy with “what we are up to” and what’s up next, we rarely, as a society, feel complete and whole, just as we are.
This fall, my practice will be of gratitude. I will take the time to stop and smell the roses, or pumpkins if you must, to enjoy the beautiful landscape that is Haddonfield, to spend time enjoying friends, and football games, and long lazy afternoons on the front porch, to tell my children just how much they mean to me and how proud I am of all their accomplishments.
This fall I am grateful for my health, and that of my husband, even though the last almost three years he’s been fighting a cancer diagnosis, head on. I am grateful for his ability to show me that the past is the past, the future is unwritten and all we ever really have is now.
I am grateful for my children who have the ability to lift my spirits, and give me a reason to carry on being strong and amazing in the midst of adversity, and for the way they remind me to look at life through the eyes of a child, unburdened and with wonderment.
I am grateful for my parents, and siblings, who are amazing and compassionate, and have always allowed me to be free.
I am grateful for my community of teachers, and students and friends, who have become my family and supported me through so so much.
It feels incredible to fill my heart with goodness. Its a working meditation, that really can’t leave you feeling anything short of totally amazing! It’s also my secret weapon when my yoga teacher says “warrior two, twenty breaths.”
Give it a try, go have a walk, pick up an acorn, or two or three or a hundred, then find a special place for them, where you can be reminded of all the wonderful blessings in your life, then if that feels good, carve out some time to write it all down, maybe even tell someone how grateful you are to have them in your life.
If you can, get to your mat, or go for a run, or cook up a storm, and watch as it keeps going on and on. To quote a friend, “one big tree of gratitude!” It’s simple, it’s fun, it’s contagious and it is so life giving. I promise when you’re done, you’ll never look at an acorn the same.
About the Author
Associate Baptiste Teacher, Lululemon Ambassador and mother to two busy girls, Nicole Cucinotta does whatever it takes to live a fulfilling life in and around her family’s busy schedule. She teaches yoga anywhere she can: in the back of a classroom, in the local studios, at the beach in the summertime and abroad while traveling. Currently, she is teaching at Dhyana Yoga in both Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey and summering at The Zen Den in Ocean City, NJ. She loves working with young athletes, and helping people find the power within and applying it to their out of the studio life. Looking back, she doesn’t know how she survived without my practice. Her love of travel has taken her all over the world, and her yoga teaching is the thread that connects her to others.