Screams and scary music flows from the bedroom. My husband enjoying some downtime is watching a suspense-filled horror movie. Cringing, I hide away in my office and sit down to an evening of writing on gratitude. Instantly, I realize I have my very first item for my 10 days of gratitude...
A closed door.
Gazing out the window of my new-to-me office, I see a tangled mess of brambles, tree branches, and ivy. I see a "growing" to-do list of backyard labor and a reminder that there are never enough hours in the day to get it all done. I am always falling behind.
And then I look.
In our leaf-filled pond, two pine siskins flit and play in the water, chasing each other off the branch draping into the water. Pine siskins are not the most intelligent of the bird species and are often the ones who end up hitting our windows. At the moment though their silly antics remind me of siblings in affectionate rivalry.
Following the siskins, two resident ring-necked doves seemingly drop from the sky. Ignoring the pond entirely for a couple of plastic pond inserts we have been trying to figure out what to do with and have filled with water, they elegantly pace the sides. Enjoying a quick dip, they then soar up high in the trees where I imagine they are readying themselves for bed. Lastly, a hummingbird hovers outside my window lured into the yard by a beautiful pink flowering bush that never fails to delight me every spring.
What I am witnessing is magical...My feelings change from frustration to gratitude.
What consumes your mind controls your life...Practice gratitude.
Gratitude Versus Appreciation
Gratitude and appreciation have been synonymous terms to me, but a little Google search reveals that to be incorrect. Gratitude is an emotion, a feeling. Appreciation is the showing of gratitude. It is an action.
My son just snuck up behind me (could be the noise-canceling headphone and closed door) and handed me Reese's peanut butter cup. Now I'm feeling super grateful (emotion!) and expressed my appreciation (action!) with a big thank you. There are side benefits to the entire family when your child learns they can order candy from Amazon.
Do you ever have those moments when you particularly notice the torrent of negative energy coming from your mouth? Where you find your ruminating thoughts are just tiresome reruns of the same worries? Where all you can see is what is wrong with the world?
Then, the inciting incident occurs...usually to someone else. And you realize you have nothing, absolutely nothing, to complain about.
That's where I am.
To practice gratitude for 10 days. Find three specific items I am grateful for. Not just I am grateful for my bed, but specifics. The goal is to elicit that feeling of gratitude that comes when you truly dwell and contemplate your blessings.
Broad: I am grateful for my local library.
Specific: I am grateful for the librarian who greets me enthusiastically every time I walk up to her desk to check out my books. She always takes the time to peruse my reading material choices and recommends a few titles I might like. She also suggests ways of searching where I can stay up-to-date on my favorite subjects (I am rather predictable). She makes me want to order in some interesting titles like The Kamsutra or How to Launder Lots of Money Fast to see what she comes up with. I know she's got something good.
What I Hope to Gain
A brain change...a 10-day lobotomy. Shift my perspective to sit more in light than dark.
We start tomorrow.
Don't pray when it rains, if you don't pray when the sun shines.
- Leroy Satchell Paige