On Small Miracles

It’s raining this morning and the fog is suspended among the bare trees and over the stream. Patches of green grass look even more vibrant against the brown and gray of the late fall sky.

It takes me a couple of days to write and publish a post so, by the time you receive this, the scenery will be different for both of us. That’s the thing about the weather…it changes. Even as I’m writing, the fog is clearing, a reminder that nothing lingers forever.

Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.
Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.
Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.
Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
Be excessively gentle with yourself.

John O’Donohue
To Bless the Space Between Us

It’s Thanksgiving week. The holidays have always been about super-charged activity, inclusion, gatherings, and comings and goings. No matter how much we enjoy them, they’re not stress-free.

This year, in addition to the usual pressure, the holiday season is fraught with uncertainty, anxiety, and a sense of loss. We’re experiencing a range of emotions. Many of us feel the longing for what we used to have, the longing for the familiar and safe.

There’s nothing familiar or safe about celebrating in the time of Covid. We’re way out of our comfort zone with no history or muscle memory to refer to.

In the poem above, John O’Donohue remind us to…

“Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.
Until its calmness can claim you.
Be excessively gentle with yourself.”

Reading this reminds me how sadness and joy can indeed coexist. What if we allowed ourselves to feel the loss of the familiar while remaining open to experiencing the joy of the holidays in new and creative ways?

I believe that our capacity for sharing love and celebrating hasn’t diminished because of the imposed limitations. We’re just being asked to shift our perspective and pay attention to small miracles.

What if we practiced being excessively gentle with ourselves? How would that look?

What would happen if we gave ourselves permission to open up to possibilities and explore new and creative ways to celebrate?

This year, Neal and I decided that it would be prudent to celebrate with our girls, just the four of us. We’re still going to prepare our favorite dishes, set a festive table, and sit down for a long and leisurely evening filled with animated conversation and laughter. The pup will beg for food and the kitty will keep her distance.

I won’t worry about everything being perfectly tidy and clean. I’ll give myself permission to put my feet up in the midst of it all. Who knows, maybe new traditions will emerge.

As I shared previously…“In Gratitude”…our lives are held together by small miracles and infinite beauty. Pausing to recognize that which we take for granted can open up the vaults of joy right where we stand.

I invite you to stop reading for a moment and place your hand over your heart.

Feel the warmth of your heart under your hand. Close your eyes and take a couple of deep breaths.
Allow your body to relax.
Continue to focus on your breath as it’s going in and out and slowly introduce the question…
What am I grateful for today? Allow the answers to come to you and focus on how you feel with each answer.
Stay with this experience as long as you want.

Welcome back! Please take a moment to write down how this moment of pause felt. I hope the gifts of your reflection linger and guide you through this week and days to come.

Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving!

As a life coach and retreat leader, Yota works with women seeking clarity, inspiration, and purpose in the midst of life changes. Her approach is intuitive and deeply influenced by her cultural roots, work and life experience, and her long-term practice of mindfulness meditation.


  • Linda Samuels

    You have such a gift for articulating in the most beautiful way what many of us are feeling. But you go beyond that understanding. You offer up a way forward with gentleness, poetry, quiet, and calm. That last line of John O’Donohue’s poem stood out to me. ” Be excessively gentle with yourself.” What a kind, encouraging phrase. I love how you not only highlighted it, but mirrored with your actions how you are being kind and gentle this Thanksgiving. You are leaning into this holiday’s different-ness, and staying open to the gifts that will appear. I also love how you are removing the normal holiday stress from you plate and intentionally choosing the let some things go. Thank you for continuing to inspire me with your words, observations, and actions. Wishing you and your beautiful family a warm and wonderful Thanksgiving celebration.

    • Yota Schneider

      Dear Linda!

      You’re always kind and generous with your praise and support. Observing and writing about these last nine months has been a centering practice for me.

      Thank you for being here and sharing your own experience. I love your openness and willingness to shift your perspective.

      Wishing you and your family a loving and deeply enjoyable Thanksgiving week! 💜

  • Tara

    A lovely little pause Yota. After the holiday! One can always give take time to be grateful & breathe..Thank you! ❤🌿❤

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