Archives for posts with tag: gratitude

I’m watching the sky slowly change from dark to dawn. I am, in a sense, “late to work”; I usually start earlier. This morning, it mattered more to start the day gently. I’m in some pain, and also feeling rather fussy in a vague way that persists, beyond my attempt to “troubleshoot” my experience. I mean… “everything” is fine, for most values of “everything”, and for most values of “fine”. Life in the time of pandemic is feeling a bit confining, at times, but my sanity project is keeping me sane, so… that’s working.

The RGB lights in my computer tower twinkle and chase merrily, over, around, back again. The aquarium light slowly begins to brighten for the day ahead. I am awake. It is a new day, well-suited to all manner of new beginnings. It’s a good place to start. 🙂

…Shipping delays make me feel vaguely impatient with life, generally… I breathe, and exhale, and let that go. This is not a unique experience. I’m fortunate to have the opportunity and resources to order this or that, and have it delivered. I sip my coffee and focus on my good fortune, my opportunities, and… the gratitude. Also a good “place” to start the day.

Life is a strange journey, is it not? One step at a time, down a path I can’t clearly see, to a “destination” that is simply an ending, eventually. How will I want to be remembered? What do I want the tale of my life’s journey to say about me, as a human being? Questions worth reflection, and a few minutes over coffee, on an utterly ordinary (for some values of “ordinary”) Tuesday morning, on a week in Spring time, in a year of pandemic.

…It’s almost daylight, now. Some time a bit later. Meditation. Coffee. Yoga. It’s unavoidable, at this point… I glance at the time. Yep. Time to begin again. 🙂

Talking Heads and coffee, this morning. 🙂 I find myself wondering if that younger me, that 1980 me, could have seen me, as I sit here now, even in her wildest imaginings. Could she have understood that anything like this fairly commonplace contentment and day-to-day ease and joy was even a potential outcome? Could I have gotten here, in life, sooner? I think about what that might have taken to achieve. Then I consider what it might have taken from me, to have achieved it “sooner”… I mean, timing has had it’s own results, actually. (For starters, I likely would not have ended up in the line of work I am presently, nor would I have met my Traveling Partner.)

YouTube stalls. I find myself both annoyed and amused. (“Oh no! What will I do without my digital media fix!!?” is a fairly insignificant thing to bitch about in the grander scheme of things, right? Read books. lol) I sip my coffee watching the lights inside my computer tower blink and flash and fade. Pretty. I run the network diagnostic on this computer. Everything appears fine “on my end”. I shrug it off as “gremlins” and try again. Everything’s fine.

How often is life like that? We have a momentary challenge, perhaps a moment of frustration, and we escalate into full troubleshooting “fight the system!” mode, without pausing even a moment for perspective… and that challenge melts away to the petty nothing it always was, at some point. Given a moment, that may have occurred much sooner…but being human, we often don’t give a situation that moment that it needs – a moment of real presence. A moment for perspective. We often put more emphasis (and value) on acting quickly than on acting wisely.  Something to think on for awhile, at least for me. 🙂

The music plays on. I sip my coffee thinking about perspective, and presence, and the value in taking a moment. 🙂

Days go by, even in this life in the time of pandemic. Social Distancing – still a thing. Yesterday’s sunny day brought people outdoors, probably too many, too soon. It makes sense to remain cautious, and considerate. I sip my coffee and plan the day ahead. I’m grateful for delivery services, “contactless”curbside pick up services, and streaming media. I sip my coffee, grateful for “sanity projects”, and a comfortable place to live.

This empty cup, and the clock on my computer, remind me it is time to begin again. 🙂

It’s a lovely morning for gratitude. Yesterday, too. My Traveling Partner said something about it, yesterday, and it still resonates with me, this morning; we are fortunate. I can work from home, and still have my job. He’s here with me, and we’re sheltering in place and social distancing, together. We’ve got what we need, generally speaking, to get by, with reasonable comfort, day-to-day. The things we are going without, are endurable inconveniences. We’re very fortunate.

…This will be true even after the toilet paper runs out…

…Realistically speaking, a lot of that “good fortune” is a matter of literal “luck”, and timing as much as any specific planning or preparedness. I sip my coffee and fill up on feeling grateful; it could be so much worse. It is, for a lot of people (maybe you…). The economic impact is real. The impact to human wellness and quality of life is real. The convenient delivery services available to some, are not affordable for all. Some people don’t even have a roof over their heads, and are forced to “shelter in place” on parking lot surfaces marked out by tape. Some people are actually trapped on cruise ships waiting around for the virus to catch up with them. Scary times.

When I start feeling restless, cooped up here at home, I remind myself how much this matters, and how fortunate I actually am. I sip my coffee quietly, appreciating how much harder this would be, if the coffee ran out, if the water was shut off, if the power got cut, if my partnership was unhealthy or my relationship an abusive one… This is a morning for gratitude.

I’m also grateful for the artists, performers, entertainers of all sorts, who continue to do what they do, making it available on YouTube, or a variety of other streaming services and web sites. Grateful for the connectivity that puts those things within reach. I’m grateful for unread books, and favorites worth re-reading.

…I’m grateful for love.

It’s enough to be able to begin again.

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?)  🙂