The Art of Gratitude

Do you know that feeling you get when you desperately need a new toothbrush? The bristles are worn and rough. Every morning you pick it up and think, I must buy a new toothbrush today! And every night you want to kick yourself for forgetting to buy one, even though you were in the store. Then, that special day comes when you are both in the store and remember that you need a toothbrush. Hallelujah! You walk over to the dental aisle and view your options, careful to select the right strength, bristle style and color. That night, you crack open the plastic, place the perfect amount of toothpaste on it, and brush your teeth. The new bristles massage your gums that have been so badly mistreated by your old, crotchety toothbrush. When you are done, you run your tongue over your teeth with the wonderful sensation of cleanliness. You can finally take the perpetrator out of your spot on the holder and sentence it to death by trash. There is a sense of joy that fills you when your new brush is hanging there proudly.

Gratitude can be more than just taking a few minutes to ramble out thoughts of the obvious things that contribute to your life in some way.

For me, I began to practice gratitude when I was at a low point in my life. I treated myself to a beautiful leather bound journal and began writing down things I was grateful for each night. Just as most people, my first couple of months entries were repetitive for the obvious things, health, family, food, a placed to live, employment and a vehicle. Looking back and reading through, I began to notice an evolution of my entries. Gratitude slowly began oozing into the crevices of my life, showing up in minor details. I can tell you the dates I bought a new toothbrush, opened a brand new bar of soap or watched the mail man deliver my mail in the pouring rain. I can tell you when I noticed a bird bathing in a puddle and how it made me feel. Reading through my journal I can tell you when I felt good in an outfit and when my egg omelet was cooked to perfection. I know all the times I was grateful for a good laugh with a friend and each time I hugged my children extra tight, looked into their eyes and told them how much I loved them.

Practicing gratitude has allowed me to observe my life in the moment I am living it. I find myself stopping throughout the day to feel grateful and happy for little details that I might have overlooked in the past, and for that I will always be forever grateful.

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What Matters

When my son was in Kindergarten, the teacher would tell me during recess all he does is sit in the field and dig in the dirt using a branch. She wanted him to stop because of the potential danger of having little holes littering the field where other children run.

When I confronted him on his digging, he brought me to his room and pulled an old lunchbox out from under his bed. He explained that he was searching for special rocks to add to his collection, despite the millions of rocks that blanketing the playground area he could have easily chosen. The rocks in his collection didn’t look special at all. As a matter of fact, some weren’t even rocks, but chunks of pavement or concrete. I left it alone and encouraged his digging to take place at home.

From time to time, on a special occasion, I would receive a small gift, wrapped in a paper towel. When I opened it up, I would find a rock that was carefully selected and washed.  I then understood how special those rocks in his collection really were.

As I have recently moved, and have spent a lot of time deciding what to pack and what to get rid of. It made me think about what really matters. I realize that what matters is different for each person but there is a common denominator, how it makes you feel. What mattered to me was the paintings from our travels, some of my favorite photographs of family, my favorite mug that has magical powers to make coffee taste better somehow, and my books. Each of those things make me feel something, sentimental, love or simply joy. They have the ability to affect my mood and remind me of who I am, at my best. I believe that what we have may be very different, but why they matter is because of the same reason. They make us feel something and remind us of who we strive to be at our best. Some of my most valuable things are not valuable at all. For my son those rocks were special and to me, that is what matters.

 

I would just like to note that a follower had emailed me to see if I am still writing.  She said, that I wrote about things that mattered.  Thank you for your concern, as it has inspired me to continue to do what I love.

 

Today I will write . . .

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Today I will write because I want to be a writer.

Today I will write because the ache of not writing has become intolerable.

Today I will write to calm the noise in my head, as each thought is fighting for attention. Letting the thoughts drain from my fingers will give me clarity and peace.

Today I will write because my imagination and creativity is clawing at the door and gripping tight to the bars, desperate to break free from the space it is held captive. Only I have the power to set them free.

Today I will write because it is the only thing I can do in my pj’s, sitting on my couch, that makes me feel absolute exhilaration.

Today I will write because the story that I have begun to tell is crying for help. It needs to be tended to and worked on and I am the only one who can fix it.

Today I will write so when I lay my head down at night, I can fall right to sleep, knowing that I consciously took a step towards my passion.

Today I will write because I AM a writer.

Today I will write . . .

will you?

TO BE OR NOT TO BE?

Confession: I should be at the gym right now!  No one will be upset that I am not there, climbing away on the stair machine.  No one will even know.  Well, except for me, and you, but you won’t say anything right?

Confession: I have been paying for a gym membership for a few months now and have gone a handful of times.  Again, no one really cares, or says anything to me about it. Perhaps that’s the problem.

I’d rather, work on my novel, read a book, which I hope will improve my writing or give me ideas, or work on my blog.  Like now.  All of these acts, require me to sit on my butt, preferable with a cup of coffee and maybe a small sweet snack.  Does this count as following my passion or just lack of motivation to be healthy?  Hmm.  Don’t answer that.

If you look around at people as they get older, you can tell who took care of themselves. I don’t want to be one of those people, struggling to walk, in poor health. I want to be a little spit fire, zipping around everyone, with a zest for life! I want to be like Jane Fonda! Yeah!  I know, she is rich and probably had “work” done.  You’re right, she did make all of those exercise videos and stayed fit.

Okay, Fine! I’ll go to the gym. . . . tomorrow.  😉

JANE FONDA

My fitness motivation.

Photo Credit: Sportsphoto LTD/Allstar

A Meditation . . .

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I wrote this some time ago, trying to describe the feeling of taking a warm shower after a long day.  I was hoping to capture the moment when I submerge my head in the water and drown out all sound.  For me, that is a place of clarity, where I can just let it all go.  Either that or I need to get out more. Well, either way, here it is.

A chill set deep inside my bones, muscles tense, mind running. I peel away my clothing until they are slouched at me feet. With the twist of a knob, my oasis awaits. The steam climbs up my legs, eventually clouding my vision. Putting my right foot forward, I step towards the pulsing water, letting it slip over my body like an oversized shirt. I am engulfed in its warmth. My thoughts are fleeting like every bead of water rushing down. The inner voice has drained my emotions with anxiety, worry, fear. The water vibrating my back allows me to relax, sighing out all which I cannot change. I surrender my head to the current. It is here where I find the silence. I am just the soul, seeking shelter as the water saturates my home. It is here I reside, safe and warm, unharmed and unaffected. I sit quietly watching, listening as the water pounces off, I can hear each solitary drop tap dancing and echoing within. The voices have vanished, leaving me as I am. Traveling within the walls my soul has been placed. Warmth, light, quiet and peace. I am. I am. I am.