870th Week: Service and Gratitude

I’m writing this practice shortly after hearing that a pending strike by building workers in residential buildings in New York City has been resolved by an agreement with the union that, if ratified, will be in place until April 2026. For those of you who live in large buildings with a large staff as I do, you’ll understand the depth of relief those of us who no longer face the possibility of having to cope with what it means not to have the support of those who keep these buildings working. What moved me most about this experience is that these building employees are now recognized as essential workers, which they absolutely are.

This brought to mind the importance of acknowledging and expressing appreciation and gratitude for all the people whose efforts and time go into making life livable in both urban and non-urban settings. Each morning, as I give the cats fresh water in their bowls, I bless the Spirit of Water and also send acknowledgment and appreciation to all the people who make this water available to those of us living in this city. It’s an enormous undertaking and I am constantly grateful to have access to free-flowing and clean water. Then, there are the people who work to keep electricity running in the city and I acknowledge and appreciate them each day, as well. The list goes on and on and I’m sure there are many things I still take for granted and don’t actively recognize in this way.

For this week’s practice, I invite you to bring your awareness to all the essentials and conveniences you have in your life and take a moment to imagine the many people you will never know whose efforts have made possible what you have at your disposal. This kind of practice reminds us that we are inescapably interdependent—that our well-being is dependent on a multitude of people we will never know. What a powerful gift!

As you explore this practice, I invite you to add in another element. Bringing your awareness to your heart space, notice what it’s like to truly acknowledge and appreciate these supports from your heart. Bring the essence of love into your expression and imagine that your heart-felt appreciation flows from you to all those you will never know, offering them the gift of acknowledgment that comes from your heart.

If you do this practice each day, you may find that more and more people come to mind, that you expand your awareness of how many people’s efforts and activities contribute to the quality of your everyday life.

An addition to this practice is to also acknowledge and appreciate all the other elements that come together to make your life workable. All the delivery vehicles, the fuel that moves them, the sunlight, soil, and water, the vegetation, animals, seafood, and more that create the food you eat, and so on. The list is endless, so choose each day who and what you want to include in your appreciation.

As with all these practices, please bring along curiosity as your constant companion and pat gently on the head any judgments that may arise, allowing them to move on through without your having to do anything about them. And, also remember to honor any mixed feelings you may have, as they are part of your wholeness and appreciation may not be the only response you discover you have.

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