Thank You – The Doorway to Oneness

Thank You_viaFlickrCreativeCommons_woodleywonderworksSo often, I’ve talked about gratitude.

I’ve seen the ways that gratitude shifts my attention from what’s not working to what is working. I’ve seen its alchemy of transforming pain to peace. I’ve watched the way it expands the good stuff and shrinks my troubles.

And yet – gratitude continues to be my teacher.

Last weekend I was in New York for an on-site training with Sagefire Institute’s Nature-Based Coach Training program.

The weekend included working with a bow drill which is used to create an ember for fire building. One element of the project was to carve a block of wood to use as a spindle. Along with a demonstration and instructions, Michael sent us off to carve the spindle with a reminder to thank the wood. 

I found a place to sit under the trees. I tried to quiet my mind, said a quick and cursory “thank you”, and began to carve. Initially, I struggled to find the right angle and pressure on the knife. Then I remembered, “Thank the wood.” So I stopped. I took a deep, full breath, let the tension drop out of my shoulders, closed my eyes, brought my awareness to the piece of wood in my palm and said a sincere thank you. I started again, more closely connected to the task at hand and more present in the moment. Small, thin shavings of wood began to peel away and the simple shape I was trying to create began to emerge.

It was slow, delicate work for my inexperienced hands. After a few gentle carvings, I would get impatient with myself and the process. Each time I got impatient, it showed up in gouges on the wood and reminded me to say thank you yet again. So I’d stop. Close my eyes. Take a deep breath and say, “Thank you.”

Each time I cycled through this process, my thank you became a little deeper and reached a little farther.

I thanked the wood.

I thanked the tree it came from.

I thanked the earth that supported the tree.

I thanked the sun that provided energy.

I thanked the rain that nourished it.

All those thank you’s created a new kind of gratitude magic.

I was no longer me, an individual, sitting on a rock, in a forest, carving a block of wood. I was part of that wood. Part of that forest. One with the rock, the light, the air, the precious community of people that talked and laughed nearby ~ and far away.

The shape emerging from the block of wood wasn’t coming from me. It was coming through me.

I was no longer trying to make something happen. I was in a dance of sorts. A dance that included me, the universe within me, and the universe that surrounds me.

For many, brief but timeless moments, there was no separation. Only oneness.

It felt like I’d stepped into something there are no words to describe. I try. Words come to mind. Sacred. Beauty. Magic. Wonder. Peace. Ease. Grace. But they’re all too small to describe this place. But it’s here. Alive in my heart and I know how I found it.

The doorway opened with two simple words. Thank you.

On the flight home, as I made notes of what I want to remember and integrate from my weekend, this was what I wondered.

How might my life shift if I approach each task as I did the carving of that wood? What if every time I struggle, or get impatient, or criticize my lack of experience, I stop and say a sincere thank you to the task at hand and everything that brought me to that experience at that moment?

Admittedly, it’s a little harder when it’s something less tangible than a piece of wood. But it’s worth the effort. I found a doorway. A doorway to a place I want to not only visit, a place in which I want to reside.

I’d love it if you’d join me there!

Thank you!


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