I arrived at the ocean with a stack of printed newsletters from so many beloved spiritual teachers. This has been a big week for mailings, and I am contemplating my own message as I sit and read these others, allowing their voices and the voice of water to permeate my mind. I find myself swimming in the power of gratitude. So much has been said so eloquently that it seems redundant of me to offer up yet another gratitude message. But I feel called to do so, and I also know this is the only reason I am braving the chilly weather today to sit at the grey breakwater and receive inspiration from the sea. I am here to learn what is in MY heart right now, so I can share those gifts with you.

I dive deeply into my own source, The Mother of Water, and ask her for clarification about what is sacred and what initial order of awareness becomes the foundation for living a life of gratitude and beauty.

As I listen to the waves pound rhythmically on the rocks, and the thunderous roar that rises from that divine cacophony, I hear a small voice repeat to me a phrase I already know from another time and space ...

First feel free.

The salty mist of this profound message is both confusing and intriguing. As a gratitude message, I am uncertain how this relates to my question. Well, of course, our freedom is something to be grateful for and is certainly sacred, feeling free conjures vague personal uncertainty. For instance, is freedom really free? Can we really make ourselves feel free? How does a feeling arise? What form of freedom can we all agree on?  And do we really feel free in our hearts even if we say we are free in our lives? Looking for more answers, I asked again.

As I sat on the rocks and listened more closely, She, of the Water, the sacred feminine voice of consciousness provided the realization I was looking for and a good foundation upon which to build a new feeling of gratitude.

"Gratitude is the feeling of sand beneath the feet after a soul willingly dives into deep water and returns to shore drenched by new consciousness."

I know EXACTLY what that feels like. I never thought of that feeling as being the initial basis of gratitude. That's the point... you don't ever have to THINK about it... you just know you ARE GRATEFUL for the sand. Still She gave me more.

"The Gratitude we automatically feel when we are safe is the basis for all things Sacred. One cannot force that feeling to arise. It just does. One cannot dictate what is Sacred. It is different for each person, and so it should be. When we realize we are not bound by any other concepts, that is the moment when we first feel free."

I admit, I have let this complex concept swim in my mind for a while but here is what I think...

As we approach the harvest season and then the holidays ....

Freedom, Gratitude, and the Sacred are all tied up in a bundle that has largely been given to us by our culture and its mixture of many spiritual traditions. We celebrate holidays because this is what we all do together. But do these holidays really reflect who we are as individual souls? Do we honor ourselves by observing special days with our own sense of what is sacred? Does our gratitude arise in us because something natural and real influenced it? (we felt the sand) Or do we say we are grateful without really understanding the emotional dynamic o fthat  gratitude? I ask these questions because doing so helps us uncover places where we may have adopted other spiritual ideals instead of our own. Our free thinking comes first and it is what actually leads us to gratitude and sacred celebration.

In order to find out what is truly sacred to each of us, we must challenge ourselves to see beyond the obvious (dive deep). It means we must view the world from a distance (above and below). And it means we must become aware of the moment when our feet touch the sand (gratitude!) and we are once again, stable and able. Feeling free to make this journey again and again, we find precious meaning in life, each time returning to our base, we experience a more enhanced sense of Gratitude. It seems, by this explanation, Gratitude is not simply something we intend to remember, but something that naturally occurs without reminder;  and The Sacred is not something we create through holidays and all the flurry of traditional activities, but is a state-of-the-heart that is sparked by a remembrance of what those traditions mean to us personally. I see the connections... and I know in all ways, I must first feel free to explore life deeply so I can continue to return gratefully and freely to my heart after I have explored more deeply. This is what makes a sacred path, a sacred practice, and the ability to feel free.

I am grateful for sacred connections that give me a true feeling of freedom.

Our lives can change dramatically when we feel both connected AND free. And this is the foundation of gratitude (as I understand it from my feet up). Using this small idea, my wish is that you create sacred moments that shape your lives in beauty, illumination, and joy now and forever after. Don't feel bound to tradition simply because our culture says so. Let yourself swim deeply where you have never gone before. It is there... in the dark and deep where you will re-discover your sacred self after you return to the shore.


Rejoicing in the magic of life, one amazing insight at a time, The Spirit of Water is grateful to be part of the movement toward the light. Helping to create an abundant and expansive world, we are here, silently transforming water into Liquid Prayers.

Written by Shara Gardner

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