Living Gratitude

Gratitude should be a cultivated virtue by those living a religious life; Gratitude for the earth that sustains us, for the sky that protects us, for the life we live and the challenges we are blessed with and brave enough to overcome.

One of the ways I display my gratitude for the life I live is by leaving gifts of offering.  To digress just a touch, I use prayer beads.  Usually these are beads in the form of a bracelet, sometimes I make them, sometimes I buy them.  They get used alot; when driving, when walking, sometimes when in line at the post office.  I use them mainly to recite the Runes to myself, to ground myself, to stabilize my breathing.  Anyway there comes a time when they fall apart…when they do I gather the beads and carry them in a matchbox in my pocket.

matchbox beads

I’ve got a lot of beads in there now.  So, to continue, I carry these around with me, these beads that I’ve spent hours (probably) turning and spinning with intention and sometimes meditatively, that now have very little use.  What are these beads good for?  Well, as I go about my day I’ll leave them in places as an offering to a place or a person, a building or a parks genius loci,  or a tree that I sit next to for a time.

This is a way for me to cultivate gratitude in my life for the places, things, and events that normally I would take for granted.  I’ve left them in cars, at my workplace, outside when taking a walk, in school rooms, even in bathrooms that were in the right place at the right time – anywhere that I feel needs to be honored for what it has given to me – I say a small prayer of thanks or a prayer of acknowledgment and try to place the bead somewhere out of the way, somewhere safe if possible.

We so easily take things for granted living in a society that caters to our every whim.  My gratitude beads allow me to reflect on the beauty around me daily, and to acknowledge the blessings that go ignored.

 

 

 

Beads

Lately I’ve been utilizing prayer beads.

I created a meditation bracelet using tiger eye and a similar color of dark bead – I don’t remember what it is exactly.  I’ve different sizes to represent the things I want to focus on while meditating or while in prayer.

My prayer bead bracelet contains 58 beads:

24 beads that represent the elder futhark then a single bead to pause and reflect and another 24 for the elder futhark.  The beads for the various Runes are different sizes as I reflect on each Rune specifically.

Also I have 9 beads that are meant as meditational queues for the contemplation of the 9 virtues found within ADF liturgy, they are also used to represent the 9 worlds of Norse cosmology.

These are not just for meditation however, I wear them while working and thumb through them if I can.  I’d like to get into the habit of thumbing them around while waiting in line at the supermarket or similar such things, just to shift my consciousness to a more aware state.  I’ve had the honor of being in the presence of Buddhist monks from Tibet and Bhutan and find it a wonderful thing to see them spinning through their prayer beads while holding a conversation

For me the bracelet is a reminder that Paganism is indeed a contemplative religion and needs to be seen as a means of reconnection with Self, Time, Place and the Now.  So often we see modern Paganism as a religion of “doing”, when it is also a religion of silence and “non-ado”.  Sitting in sincere silence and contemplation is enormously beneficial to ourselves and others.