Gratitude to Remember

What I believe to be the most grateful evening I have experienced in this lifetime happened last night happened at For Goodness Sake.   As I drove through Truckee, clueless that the power had gone out, having driven through a windy snowstorm an extra half hour route to avoid chaining up my cute 2-wheel drive, I was somehow oblivious to the power outage– darkened buildings covered by snow.  All I saw was that it was dark at my beloved spiritual center, For Goodness Sake.  But no.  there it was, barely lit on the ground floor only by candles, filled with my  loving family.

Margie and David started FGS five years ago to provide light to the world and the town of Truckee.  They bought the building and have funded it indefinitely.  Yes, from the goodness of their heart with no profit motive whatsoever.  It houses teachings from diverse spiritual paths such as a Wisdom Circle, Course in Miracles, Listening Group, Law of Attraction, meditation, Tai Chi, The Artist’s Way, Buddhist training, as well as world class special events with Rimpoches, healers and authors from around the world.  Everything is free except special events when the money goes to the presenter.

The format for the evening was to go around and express our gratitude.  Margie shared about finding her caretaker, Abbey, in the Bahamas.   They had connected when Abbey was giving free massages there and was just about to move to Truckee…..

Dave told how Margie had done really well in the past selling timeshares in Portugal and priding herself in not pressuring people.  So, during the Grand Opening of FGS when he’d acted as hawker,  luring people in to enjoy chocolate covered strawberries, he was amused to hear a guy come out and say–“I know what they’re doing–selling timeshares!”

A young mom told about watching her children growing up in the Parent’s Circle where volunteers watch the babies on blankets and move them to the hardwood floors when they grow big enough to spill things.  How they are absorbing all the good energy here as a birthright.

Steve told about meeting his wife Denny through FGS and when she’d asked about him Andy the director had said, “he’s harmless.”  Andy shared that in the hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy the label for earth was “harmless” which was later amended to “mostly harmless.”  This he did for Steve as well…..”mostly harmless.” ( Steve and Denny are about to take and impromptu trip to the sacred sites in Egypt for 3 weeks).

Our beautiful volunteers, JJ, Jules and Jen, talked about how it doesn’t matter which path a person is following, all benefit by the food they receive there.  The ripples extend throughout Truckee and the whole world.  Jules and Jen are twins from S. Africa and recently their parents moved here.  Their father, Will, expressed his gratitude for the welcome he and Sue feel here.  Just when Jules finished speaking the lights came back on, after which we turned them off again to keep the mood.

One woman played a song on her IPhone,

“Gratitude behind me,

gratitude in front of me,

gratitude to my right,

gratitude to my left,

gratitude above me,

gratitude below me,

gratitude within me,

gratitude around me,

I am so grateful (repeat this part  X 10)

We all sang it 3 times through, most of us in tears.

My own miracle had just happened on the drive over when I learned that the final piece had fallen into place for me to own a practically new car without qualifying for a loan of any kind–my friends have advanced personal loans and the last one had just jumped in.  During my share, of the three people I pointed out that I didn’t know (I was amazed that in this town I don’t even live in I knew everybody else!), one I recognized later was was Dave the founder.  Since they are always talking about how this is not their place, but belongs to everyone, I thought it was fully in the spirit of the night to have pointed him out…..”You–over there!”

Miracles

For hours we watch snowflakes

lifting, turning, playing in stillness.

From across the continent

you hear my torn cry,

rush in to catch me as I fall,

your broad arms,

the sack of me landing in them.

And in this moment we call perfection,

it is our mistakes that God has polished,

our tears of sorrow into jewel.

Now, Dear, I ask you.

Could it ever have been another way?

gwendalyn gilliam, incline village, 11.8.11