Archives for posts with tag: gratitude

This morning I woke ahead of the alarm clock, feeling rested. I did some yoga. I showered. Made coffee. Dressed for work. I hadn’t yet checked the weather, but so far “snow-pocalypse” has been fairly disappointing, and I wasn’t worried about the weather, because I arrived home last night prepared to work from home this morning. Instead of fussing about the weather, I took time for meditation, no timer. It was a lovely start to the morning.

(I still don’t know what the weather may be like, and still haven’t checked.)

Now, I am sipping my coffee and considering things. Mostly things I am grateful for. It’s not exactly “prayer” – but it isn’t entirely unlike prayer, I suppose. I’m not conscientiously cataloging gratitude-worthy moments, or events, or people, either. More like I’m allowing my thoughts to go where they wish, and as they do, I’m making a point to definitely feel gratitude for things that I happen to be grateful for. It’s an exercise in appreciate, in awareness, and in observation, and I feel lifted up every day that I do this particular practice.

(There’s so much in life to be grateful for.)

My coffee is precisely as I like it. I sip it with contentment, and wonder briefly why no other coffee really tastes quite like this first carefully crafted pour-over in the morning? I let that thought go, and welcome the next. One by one, they turn up, and then depart. Moments considered. It’s been a good week so far, and even my pain has been generally fairly well-managed, which tends to result in being in a “better mood” just as generally. It’s nice. I think about valued co-workers and some exceptionally satisfying positive interactions in this young new year. Promising. I mull over the past year of living with my Traveling Partner, and smile; it’s been delightful to enjoy so much of his company. I appreciate his presence. I think about practical details that are worthy candidates for gratitude, right down to the small details like doors that lock, indoor plumbing, refrigeration, and electric lights; life would be different – very different – without those. I take a moment to appreciate connectivity, and then to appreciate the vast improvement in my day-to-day experience that resulted from giving up social media; those experiences exist side-by-side in a meaningful way, and there’s something to be learned from that, beyond this moment. I sit quietly, absorbed in my thoughts, suffused with a feeling of contentment.

(I allow myself to be distracted by the clock on my monitor for an instant.)

My seamless fabric of grateful musing begins to unravel with distractions. I haven’t put on earrings. My coffee is almost cold – and almost finished. Will I drive or take the train today? Will it actually snow? I wonder what we’ll have for dinner tonight? I wonder if there are “any cool shows on” tonight? I haven’t put on perfume. Did I actually brush my hair? Is my backpack ready for the day? I didn’t forget my laptop or hub, did I? Did I manage not to wake my partner while I dressed? I wonder if today will be sunny? How is my author friend doing? Or that one DJ friend of mine? Or the friend with a new baby? Should I get back in the habit of writing paper letters, and hand-drawing and water-coloring note cards? Oh, I already finished my coffee… I wonder who will be elected president this next time? Shit, the world’s going to hell so fast, it seems like. Where shall we go out for “date night” next time? Oh, hey, what time is it, now?

(I notice the endless possible distractions have lead me far from mindfulness and contentment. I take a deep breath, and another. I exhale. I relax. I bring myself back to now, and begin again.)

The heat comes on, reminding me of the cold morning temperatures beyond these windows and walls. I breathe deeply. I sit quietly. I’m not asking anything extraordinary of myself in this moment, just to be here, now, awake, aware, and listening, observing the world around me. I feel relaxed and contented. Calm. I experience this as a state of readiness, without agitation, or hyper-vigilance, simply present in this moment. I give myself over to a few minutes of simply being present and aware, without any agenda or concerns. It’s a good foundation for the busy work day ahead. I look at the clock. It’s definitely time to begin again. 🙂

I’m starting the morning in a positive place. I feel well-rested. My coffee is hot and tasty – I assume; I haven’t actually tasted it yet, it’s still too hot. lol There’s the key, though; my assumption is positive. I’m grateful for the coffee I’ve got. Gratitude is a reliably good start to a day. (Cool thing about that? I can choose to start with gratitude, if I’ve the will to undertake it.) I sit awhile, feeling grateful. Grateful for love. Grateful for a great partnership. Grateful for indoor plumbing. Grateful that I’m not in pain this morning (well, mostly not). Grateful for the car in the driveway. Grateful for a great team at work. Grateful that there are mornings like this one.

Sometimes my day doesn’t begin so comfortably, or so easily. 🙂

Gratitude is an excellent way to start a day.

I want to be super clear; I understand feeling angry. There’s a lot in the world truly worth feeling angry about. There’s definitely a fair few things that I feel angry about in life. There are challenges and hurdles and problems in the world that are certainly worthy of raising an angry voice. I feel it, too. It’s when feeling angry becomes being angry that things skew towards “the dark side”. “Angry” is a pretty horrible state of being (and fairly exhausting). We become what we practice. If anger is the only emotional state we embrace, we become damned good at being angry, and less and less able to experience much else. Anger gets a foothold and can begin dominating an emotional experience. Anger is “sticky” and immersive. We can become chronically predisposed toward being angry as a first reaction – to everything. That does not sound good to me, personally. (I’ve even given that a test drive. I found it… unpleasant, and worse.)

…I also found that I was more prone to earnestly needing to “be right”, while living a life infused with anger, and a peculiar tendency towards closed-mindedly thinking that I was right, as a default assumption. (Oh, and… I wasn’t. Not so much, no.) Earnest committed assumptions of one’s own righteousness seem to be most commonly associated with great measures of… wrongness. lol Damn. (Do better, Humans!) I’ll also point out, for folks who “tend to be right most of the time” (I see you out there!) – it doesn’t hurt to avoid the assumption of being right, and to leave room for error. Humble looks good on you. 😉

Sometimes the wiser path is to”let it go”. To refrain from taking things personally. To make a point of assuming positive intent. To appreciate, to build, to encourage – instead of resenting, destroying, or belittling. (I’m not saying it’s easy.) To make willful choices to be the person I most want to be. Before I get a rousing chorus of “I can’t help how I feel!”, I’ll gently observe that indeed, the one thing we have reliable potential to “help” is our own experience, “how we feel” – it’s just not a matter of force or pure will. Force and pure will can certainly change behavior. Over time, emotions may catch up. Emotion needs a bit more subtlety and real care. Emotional resilience and well-being seem most durably built, over time, with commitment, and practice, and slowly becoming the person we most want to be. Through practice. That has lasting power well-beyond the immediate moment. 🙂

This is a season of change, of transformation, and yes, of gratitude. What are you doing with that? Me, personally? I’m sitting here with my coffee and my thoughts, and a smile. 🙂 (It’s enough.)

It can be as simple as this.

The Four Agreements are an old favorite of mine for new beginnings. There are other exceptional ways to seed new thinking, and provoke positive change. What will yours be? (It’s definitely time to begin again. Isn’t it always?)  🙂

You know that experience where disappointment, frustration, and anger, collide, and the result is a bit of a tantrum, a lashing out, maybe saying “too much”, with too much ferocity? You know the one; the burning of bridges, the severing of connections? That moment when disappointment hits so hard it feels necessary to hit back (metaphorically, I mean)? Yeah… don’t do that. (Also, don’t do violence. Just… yeah, don’t. Not okay.)

I know, it sound super easy to say. Emotions get to the party ahead of our rational minds, generally. Once we’ve lashed out, said a thing, made a messy bit of drama that will need clean up later, it can seem to have been necessary, “reasonable” (it’s definitely not that) – even “paybacks” may sound satisfying. “Fuck them!”

Here’s the thing, though. We’re all human. Most of us perceive ourselves to be “the good guy” in our own narrative, at least. If asked, people seem generally willing to stake a claim to being in a state of “doing their best”, moment-to-moment. It’s very subjective. If, though, everyone around us is as well-intentioned as we believe ourselves to be, is lashing out when disappointed actually an appropriate reaction to that person or circumstance? (If you are not “well-intentioned”, that’s a very different concern, for another day.)

I recognize that life “isn’t fair”, and that most of the time there’s no “save” at the last minute, no “we brought you back as our wild card performer!” moment to salvage our experience if we’ve been disappointed. (Sometimes there is, though, so… maybe don’t talk yourself out of that potential with a lot of cranky bullshit.) I’m thinking about it this morning, not because it’s properly relevant to this moment, but it may be to some other, in the future, so… sipping coffee, thinking thoughts. Certainly, after the fact, it’s usually pretty clear that throwing a fucking fit over some small disappointment is less than ideal for any number of reasons, not the least of which is that the most obvious result is that we look like a reactive, emotionally immature, jackass (at least until we’ve finished whatever rationalization we’re prone to working so hard at, at that point we’re likely to be blinded by our own fiction). lol Not a great look.

Giftmas is coming. Gifts under trees… dinners out with friends or family… holiday events… it’s easy to forget to cherish these rare moments, to make them the best moments of our lives (and yes, even in spite of conflict, and stress). It’s super easy to lose our shit in a moment of holiday stress. We’re making memories every moment, though; what do we want to remember of our life? To be remembered for? The stress? The conflict? We become what we practice. Being a petty jerk about an imperfect gift creates a memory, becomes a practice. How much better to give generously, and receive graciously? To be kind? To show compassion? To laugh with a joyous heart? There are verbs involved, and choices, and yes – your actual will. It is actually possible to choose – and build – joy. I recommend it as a practice. 😀

Let go of the stress. Lead with gratitude. Be merry by choice when you can. Appreciate each moment; the joyous ones are as lovely as butterflies, the ones that are less joyous are extraordinary opportunities to grow, to learn, and to become that person you most want to be. Sure, walk away from drama, definitely do that, and also connect with others more deeply, more authentically. It is a powerful season for change. It’s a real shot at life-changing forward momentum. Your call. Your choice. Your practices.

Give yourself an amazing gift this year; better practices. 🙂 It’s not always “easy”, and “practice” certainly implies effort, and likely an occasional actual failure. The journey is so worth all that. Are you the person you most want to be, standing where you are, right now? What will you do about that, today, right now?

It’s already time to begin again. I finish my coffee, and smile. No headache this morning; it’s a good beginning. 😀

 

It’s just a thought, on a Monday morning; communication is a pretty big deal. It changes the map, changes the journey, and changes the experience – shared or individual. The magical thing about communication is that it does not have to be weaponized and hurled down range as a hurtful salvo of toxic waste – ever. It can be shared gently, with great care, and received with great tenderness. Ideally… it is useful, enlightening, and promising of a better future moment once considered.

The flip side of using words, of communicating with consideration, is listening – deeply, fully present. I’ll note this is the greater challenge for me, personally, although making considered, authentic, use of communication opportunities does require some verbs, itself. Listening seems to require a few more.

Communication is useful for analyzing patterns – and breaking them. (image credit to my Traveling Partner)

It began simply as a weekend at home, ill. It ended feeling re-connected, deeply involved, wholly committed, and very much in love. The power of words should not be underestimated, Friends. The conversations that walk that mile, however, are not necessarily the “easy” ones; small talk isn’t going to get it done. I’m sipping my coffee and appreciating my Traveling Partner’s willingness to talk and listen, to “go deep”, to share intimate details of that most private personal space within each of us; thoughts and feelings. Wow. It got real, and it got deep, and things were shared that perhaps would have benefited from being shared sooner, together, and a few that presented profound healing opportunities to be shared at all. It was powerful.

…It still is. 🙂

…Worth it. 😀

So… here it is Monday. I’d so much rather stay home with my Love than go anywhere else, right now, but there’s a job to be done, and I’m being paid to do that. So… coffee at hand, dressed for work, and smiling, I prepare to begin again.

…Really, though? I’m sitting here sipping my coffee thinking about love, and how much I enjoy this partnership. How much I’ve grown – and feel that growth supported. How much he’s grown, and how much I enjoy supporting his growth, too. I even feel, fairly literally, wrapped in love; most of my selections for work wear today were suggested by, or gifted to me by, my partner. There’s something magical to that. My smile deepens. I think that I smell his cologne in my studio… I think, too, that it makes my coffee taste better. lol Love is a hell of a flavor enhancer. 🙂

I smile, and finish my coffee, and let a new day begin untouched by old troubles. Use your words. (So worth it.) Then…? Begin again. 🙂

 

 

I came home tired last night, ankle aching (it’s mostly built of imagination and wreckage at this point, so… sometimes it aches ferociously), cross and irritable over the commute (I got stuck behind an exceedingly, obviously, impaired driver, who veered back and forth, randomly stopped while straddling lanes, drifted into the bike lane repeatedly, and drove very slowly) and just generally – I wasn’t at my best. I had stopped at the store for dinner, though, and I was happy to be home.

…What the…? I pull into the garage… the clean, tidy garage, which is… clean… and tidy. I know I didn’t leave it that way this morning… Huh. Wow. Yep. Both “huh” and “wow”. Nice. I walk into the house, and… oh damn. House looks great too, like, top to bottom. Clean. Tidy. Some small changes in the way things are arranged that really improve the comfort of the floor plan. I’m in mid-exclamation (and appreciative thanks), when my Traveling Partner becomes aware of my physical discomfort with my ankle… out comes a handy ice pack… he makes sure my foot is elevated… then goes to the kitchen, and makes dinner for us. It was a lovely evening. I definitely went to bed last night feeling well-loved. 😀

I’m sipping my coffee this morning, contentedly; coffee was one of the handful of items on my shopping list last night. (No tea? Nope – tea is generally for when it isn’t time for coffee. LOL Personal preference. Although I may yet, one day, switch permanently from coffee to tea, that day is not today.) It’s a lovely morning. I’m not taking anything personally, or struggle with the details, or fussy to myself over some small thing – it’s just me, this coffee right here, and a new day.

It’s enough. 🙂