November & December are difficult months for many due to the holidays, and this is especially true for those who struggle day to day on the streets of Grand Rapids.
Everyday our homeless in GR face challenges of basic needs survival, yet at the holidays there is an added element of isolation and stress.
Though I cannot personally change their situations, I offer them tools each week that assist them in coping with daily life.
One tool is gratitude. We discussed its importance as a practice and that is how we opened our circle each week. I asked every participant over 2 months for what or whom they are grateful which they then shared with the group.
The answers were similar:
‘I am grateful I woke up and took a breath.’
“Grateful for my relationship with God.’
‘Grateful for hot coffee.’
Simple, yet profound gratitude that unites people. From a place of gratitude, everyone was able to take a deeper breath in and a longer exhale out. People found a way to access inner peace amidst a chaotic outer environment. I taught them a meditation taught to me by Gabby Bernstein “peace begins with me.”
Utilizing the practices of gratitude, breath, mantra meditation, and simple movement people softened their edges, relaxed the furrow from their brow, and found a sense of ease in their bodies if only for a few moments. All participants reported feeling better. One man came out of meditation exclaiming “I am clean of mind and spirit.”