December 28 – Agradecimiento (Gratitude)

What eleven things were you most grateful for in 2011?
a
1. great friendships
2. my wonderful family
3. a good job in a career that I love (teaching!)
4. the opportunity to teach lots of yoga schmoga
5. the freedom and ability to travel widely
7. my continuing studies powerful Dharma teachings
8. my pets
9. my wonderful life in Guatemala
10. the medicinal value of meditation
11. this.

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder. ~G.K. Chesterton
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December 26 – Seva (Service)

How did you serve in 2011? Do you plan to volunteer in 2012?
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In addition to teaching 8th grade English, I am the Community Service Coordinator at my school in Guatemala. In this role, I have been fortunate to connect with some amazing nonprofit work going on in this country at organizations including Long Way Home, which is building parks, a school and a community center in a village called Comalapa, as well as Safe Passage, an educational support center that provides food, love and education to children living in poverty near the garbage dump here in Guatemala City. In 2011, I organized many “Service Saturday” volunteer trips for students, teachers and parents.
I personally got involved with an organization called La Alianza (alliance) which is a safe house for teenagers who have been rescued from human trafficking. Along with another friend, I’ve gone there once or twice a month since September to teach yoga to the girls. In early December, we threw them a big Christmas party, complete with piñatas, tamales, cake, and donated presents. The girls’ spirit is amazing; though they’ve all been through unimaginable horrors in their young lives, they smile and laugh and hug us and are always so grateful to us.
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“Service is the rent we pay for being on this earth.” ~Marian Wright Edelman

December 25 – Milagro (Wonder)

Illustrate your own personal wonderland — real or imagined. What’s the weather like? Who else is there with you? Use vivid detail.
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“We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about.” ~ Charles Kingsley

December 23 – Karma (Action)

Actions speak louder than words. What daily actions will you take this year? How will you begin your January mornings?
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We have so many choices in how we wake up. Meditation in stillness or in movement? Coffee or tea? Breakfast or not? Music or silence?
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I, for one, will be having a licuado for breakfast. (That’s Spanish for smoothie.)
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Like gravity, karma is so basic we often don’t even notice it ~Sakyong Mipham

December 22 – Sukkha (Happiness)

Where did you encounter sweetness in 2011?
Was there sweetness
In the warm embrace of a trusted friend?
In an unexpected home cooked meal after a long day of work?
In the park at sunset?
On the yoga mat?
 At the beach?
Within the confines of your own bedroom?
All of the above,
I hope.