I am a registered yoga instructor.
If practicing yoga and teaching yoga have taught me anything (and they have taught me much!), it’s how to harness the power of breath and to live breath by breath and moment by moment. This has helped this gal slow down a bit and not always be rushing to the next thing.
As a Holy Yoga instructor and ambassador who teaches a couple classes a week, I am always reminding my students to live in the breaths and to offer praise to God in their hearts for something that has already happened that morning. For those who don’t think about praise much, this can initially be challenging, especially when it’s an earlier class. I encourage them to dig into their mornings if they have to, and I offer up some of my own praise and thanksgiving to God for
- Waking up (always a great thing!)
- A coffee maker that still chugs along
- A cat who eagerly awaits my awakening, partly out of love and partly out of hunger
- The weather–whatever it may be–because our earthly home needs sunshine, rain, and wind in moderate or sometimes generous amounts
- Filtered water to drink and having water, period, as so many around the globe live in droughts or must walk miles to get water for their needs
Honestly, we should be praising and thanking God throughout the day in the “mundane” moments–or what I prefer to call the extraordinary, ordinary moments.
The picture above shows the kitchen sink and window where my sweet mama stood in the evenings and mornings to wash dishes. We didn’t have a dishwasher, so mama would scrub and scour then dry her pots, pans, and dishes, never leaving anything in the sink overnight. This probably explains why I still prefer hand washing my dishes and leaving a clean sink at night, even though I DO have a dishwasher.
I recall many times when my mother would stand at the sink, gazing out the window, her hands deep in soapy water, and singing favorite hymns. Now, truth be told, mama couldn’t carry a tune. Unlike her daughter here, who always got solos in church and school growing up, she couldn’t carry a tune for the life of her; but boy, did she love to sing!
And even as a child, I was impressed with her praising God as she performed the ordinary task of cleaning the dishes.
We can and should get our praise on throughout the day.
I often praise and thank God when
- I’m playing in dirt, pulling weeds or planting flowers. Just lifting up prayers of praise and thanksgiving in my heart for the earth or knowing I own a plot of land that’s mine spurs me to praise.
- I am filling my water bottle with my refrigerator’s water dispenser for the very reasons I mentioned earlier.
- Someone nearly rear ends me on the highway. Granted, I may call said person some not-so-nice names afterwards, but I get my bearings and give thanks and praise God for sparing me an accident.
- I am spending one on one time with a special friend. Sometimes I just breathe in and silently say, “Thank you, God, for So and So.”
- I am playing with my cat. One of life’s great cruelties is that pets are in our lives for such a brief time. My Pablo is ten yeas old now, so I am very mindful–or try to be– of loving on him, because I am his universe. At least I’m some creature’s universe!
- I wash dishes. Scrubbing, rinsing, and drying are very meditative for me, except–unlike mama–I typically have Jordan Feliz or Toby Mac playing on Alexa. Hey, it’s great praise music!
Here’s my point: Everyday and every moment are gifts, and we should be living them as such.
We read in Matthew’s gospel Jesus’s words about not worrying about tomorrow (See Matthew 6:25-24)… not about what we will eat or drink or anything else.
What would your life be like of you ditched the worrying and really started living in the moments and the breaths in praise? Can you imagine how content, calm, and happy you might be? Even if you are going through a challenge or trial, you still have so much for which to be grateful (life itself being one of them).
One of the tools I often use with both my life coaching and grief coaching clients is a gratitude journal. I encourage them to buy a notebook, and each night before going to bed, to write three things for which they are grateful on that day and two ways they brought joy to others. I love hearing them tell me how after about a week of this practice, they start to seek ways to give others joy. Such a beautiful thing!
The greatest convert in Christianity (my humble opinion), Paul, wrote in his first letter to the church at Thessalonia to rejoice always, to pray continually, and to give thanks in ALL circumstances. That last part can be a real challenge when you are navigating a debilitating or life-threatening illness, a financial crisis, or are being abused in some way by a spouse or partner.
But, like my dear mother, who worked a hard, manual labor job each day for decades, who constantly worried about finances, and who couldn’t carry a decent tune, we can turn the ordinary moments of each day into something God-honoring and grand.
Try hand washing your dishes tonight. Mindfully clean and dry them, then return them to their proper places.
And all the while you’re doing it, sing a song of praise or just praise and thank God in your heart.
It is right and just.
Amy Walton is a multi-certified life coach and grief coach, a Holy Yoga instructor and an RYT-200, an author, and speaker who currently lives in coastal Virginia. She seeks daily to ground herself in thanks and praise to God. Connect with her at firstname.lastname@example.org.