Gratitude for a Busy Life

This entry was posted on May 17, 2019 by Charlotte Bell.

Some days remind me to be grateful. Yesterday was such a day. It didn’t start out that way though.

I woke feeling daunted by the day ahead. I hadn’t slept well, and was looking at starting my day with my usual 7:30 am yoga class, and then proceeding to teach four more classes. But the day didn’t end there. I would also be playing Mahler’s monumental Symphony no. 2 with the Salt Lake Symphony and Utah Voices. Although I very much looked forward to this concert, I was unsure of my ability to sustain my concentration for a 90-minute musical marathon after getting so little sleep and having so little down time during the day.

But as the day progressed, and after its apex, the incredible Mahler symphony, I felt nothing but gratitude. Rather than my usual pattern of feeling overwhelmed by busyness, I felt grateful for the life I’ve chosen—busyness and all. Yesterday was filled with so many opportunities to serve and uplift, and isn’t that what our lives are about?


Finding Gratitude for a Busy Life

In addition to getting to meet once again with my longtime early morning class, I taught yoga to patients, caregivers and staff at Huntsman Cancer Institute. Then, later in the afternoon, I had the opportunity to help provide a much-needed respite—restorative yoga—to a group of nurses from the University of Utah hospital.

Then came the concert. Describing it as a “peak experience” doesn’t do it justice. It was so much more. Three hundred people were involved—orchestra, chorus, soloists, off-stage brass section—all volunteering our time and energy to multiple rehearsals and to this performance for the purpose not only of uplifting ourselves, but to offer the gift of Mahler’s masterpiece to the community. Words can not describe how grateful I am to have been a part of this wondrous event.

I’m especially grateful for my mindfulness practice that allowed me to savor each moment of the performance, whether I was playing or sitting and being absorbed in the profound beauty and passion of others’ playing and singing. Whether I was playing or listening, I felt the interconnectedness of all of us on stage, in the audience and beyond. There were many teary moments—tears of rapture and gratitude. There were many moments of Samadhi.

Next time I get caught up in the stress of busyness, I hope I remember this day and remember that there is much to be grateful for in this life.

What are you grateful for?


About Charlotte Bell
Charlotte Bell discovered yoga in 1982 and began teaching in 1986. Charlotte is the author of Mindful Yoga, Mindful Life: A Guide for Everyday Practice and Yoga for Meditators, both published by Rodmell Press. Her third book is titled Hip-Healthy Asana: The Yoga Practitioner’s Guide to Protecting the Hips and Avoiding SI Joint Pain (Shambhala Publications). She writes a monthly column for CATALYST Magazine and serves as editor for Yoga U Online. Charlotte is a founding board member for GreenTREE Yoga, a non-profit that brings yoga to underserved populations. A lifelong musician, Charlotte plays oboe and English horn in the Salt Lake Symphony and folk sextet Red Rock Rondo, whose DVD won two Emmy awards in 2010.

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