All is silent, except for little feet crunching leaves and the sound of birdseed landing on the ground. With each step, my shoulders drop, I begin to feel a little lighter, and my heart opens (before I was unaware of how closed it was).
Once a week, this is how I start my morning, and I always look forward to it. It’s become known as the birdseed gratitude walk. Each child takes a handful of seeds from a little flowery pouch that I have set aside for this practice. As we begin our walk, the invitation is to seek out the small experiences in nature that create feelings of gratitude or to allow for gratitude to rise from your heart and acknowledge it.
We acknowledge and celebrate the gratitude we feel by tossing a little birdseed as a gift to the birds as we walk along. Then, as each moment of gratitude rises, we toss a little more birdseed. Some kids try to get as much birdseed as possible into their hands, so they have plenty to giveaway.
With the birdseed gratitude walk, you connect a physical action, tossing birdseed, with a movement of gratitude from the heart. In other words, the gratitude of your heart is being outwardly expressed to the world in the form of a small gift.
With this practice, you seek out that which touches your heart, makes you happy, and brings joy - the magic is in actively receiving nature’s gifts in these small moments - watching a leaf falling through the air, the blue sky, a smell from a flower - and then offer a giveaway in return.
Being in the state of gratitude with what is in your current experience also creates space within you for gratitude to arise from other parts of your life. For example, perhaps a kind gesture gifted to you recently has room to be fully received and honored.
Combining a giveaway (birdseed) with gratitude causes it to land differently from many gratitude practices. Each toss of birdseed is connected with gratitude; this sweet and simple gesture opens up the heart in subtle and powerful ways. It can totally shift your day, as it has mine. AND children LOVE IT!
As with most practices, the juiciness and gifts are received when our full awareness is in the present moment. So, before reaching into your birdseed pouch, orient yourself to the moment. Feel your feet on the ground, notice your breath, and begin to look at where you are within your landscape.
I encourage you to turn a small bag or pouch that you already have into a birdseed gratitude pouch, so it’s ready whenever you are.
Give it a try, and please let me know how it goes!!