If you are stumped about jumpstarting your energy for 2014, try a gratitude list.
This morning, one of the commenters on this thread made me cry. Read here for more and leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you.
And for our Friday Dance Break-
Just like that.
Thank you for the nearness of you, over all these miles.
“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child — our own two eyes. All is a miracle.”
—Thich Nhat Hanh, from The Miracle of Mindfulness
It is a cold damp day here in the Berkshires.
I know many of you are struggling with the low temperatures across the nation today. I send you all my warm thoughts and prayers for comfort.
I am in bed. Working, but in bed.
It is just one of those days when I can.
And so. For now, jammies are the outfit and tea is the food.
I came across this quote from Thich Nhat Hanh, which exemplifies Laundry Line Divine where I write
about seeing and celebrating the sacred in daily life.
It is not so easy, always, to find the gratitude from inside whatever is binding you, whether it is harsh weather, climate change, self-judgment, failed dreams, peevish children, difficulties in relationships.
But there is something to finding your way to gratitude from within those boundaries. So often, I think I have to wait until I am free of them, the problems solved, the weather bonny, the bank account restored, the meal made, the skirmish quelled, the leader mourned…once I am free of them, then I can find gratitude.
But what makes the dance holy, is finding gratitude from within the strapped places in your life.
Like Thich Nhat Hanh suggests, we are engaged in one big fat miracle by being alive and that, my dears, can be your first gratitude.
I am grateful I am alive.
Here are ten gratitudes of mine today.
Leave me your ten in the comments.
I am grateful to be alive and well and living in the Berkshires.
I am grateful for places of beauty, like this one, created by my friend Barbara.
I am grateful for Advent, the time of going within and making art and writing during the season when I usually torture myself about gifts and baking and preparations.
I am grateful for my friend Melanie and her daily art posting during Advent.
I am grateful for my friend Mandy Steward and her invitation to venture in to the dark regions of my soul.
I am grateful for living here, with my husband, making it up as we go, parenting, working, living in a community.
I am grateful to be free of the molds of expected behavior when it comes to how I am supposed to live. Somehow, I stepped out of that a long time ago.
I am grateful for poetry, today, Christopher Wiman and his poem, I Said To My Soul, Be Loud.
I am grateful for these girls singing my favorite song, with such incredible style and grace.
I am grateful for finding the websiteOn Being today. Fueled. Thank you.
I am grateful for art making and my friendship with Karen Arp-Sandel and all the fun we create, daily for each other with FeMail.
I am grateful for my journals and pens and the trees and ink and the water and energy that made them.
I am grateful for my healthy kids.
I am grateful for heating oil and the deep thunging sound of the tank full.
I am grateful for getting to do yoga with amazing people and a studio where kids can be there, with teachers who are welcoming and grace-filled.
I am grateful for all the ways I get to be in the community, with my writing workshops, with Rampant Sisterhood, with the upcoming workshop I am leading, with the book tour I am planning for August 2014, with my March 1 event coming up, I am so grateful that I have work to do and some of it, I can do from bed.
I am grateful for my Mom. I miss her so much these days.
I am grateful for getting to write for other websites, like Berkshire Family Focus.
I am grateful for all the friendships I have that were bonded through the internet, Joy Rose of the Museum of Motherhood, Tania Pryputniewicz of Mother, Writer, Mentor and Pippa and Penny Best of The Story of Mum.
“If the only prayer you ever say in your life is thank you, it will be enough.”
I am grateful to believe, every day, like Thich Naht Hahn says, that there are miracles every single day, in our ordinary lives, all around us, and noticing them recalls the days to gifts because being alive and awake is a gift. As Ziggy used to say in the cartoon I had taped in to mirror
“Today is a gift, that’s why they call it The Present”.
Okay. That is 20.
So when you are hankering for someone, like your grumpy teen-ager to say thank you, prime the pump with your own gratitude. Write thank you notes on paper that you put in the mail. Yes. Email is okay, but paper rocks the soup. Model everything you want for your self. Give it to others.
Thank you for reading me here.
For enduring my jammies and this bad hair day.
I look forward to hearing your ten.
Today is Friday.
I listened to Brene’ Brown talk with Oprah about shame last night in my studio.
What struck me shivering was the idea that what I call my disaster thinking.…which happens when I am happy and joyful and well, then my brain flips on disastrous scenarios of all the ways that this moment of joy could be changed...you know how this goes?
What I knew already- which I learned from my friend Regena Thomashauer of Mama Gena’s School of the Womanly Arts, is that when my capacity for joy gets small, it is time to expand with gratitude. And that is exactly what Brene’ said last night, as I was twiddling with this photograph, pebbling over a phrase I had heard in my head all day long, which first appeared as I walked along the Housatonic River and saw this scene.
I am grateful for time to reflect.
I am grateful to live in a place that nourishes my soul.
I am grateful for my health and well being.
I am grateful for all my teachers, even the difficult ones, like my own shame.
I am grateful for you readers and your life stories going on just beyond this screen, in the real world of nubby wool scarves, rubbed elbows and the smell of salmon left-over from dinner being cooked just down the stairs.
How about you?
Does gratitude shift your ability to feel joy?
What are you grateful for right now?
I’d love to hear.
Some days I read other people’s work online and feel they have written it for me. (see Danielle’s quote below)
Some days, I wonder if my yoga teacher has been reading my journal. (She asked us what we are waiting for. Why not live bigger now?)
Today, what is going on inside of me is reflected in my outside world as if they are all in on my private thoughts.
Wish someone well as if you were their personal angel dispensing inevitable fortunes on them.
Wish someone the very same happinesses, freedoms, and fulfillment that you’re wishing for yourself.
Cast your wishes like you have an unlimited supply of magic to bestow. There’s more where that came from.
I have taken to making these small offerings of gratitude, if not daily, then every few days, that I put on the table where I write and work. I make them in the tradition of canang sari, an ancient practice popular in Thailand. With every piece of the offering, I lay in my prayers of gratitude for every speck of my life, including adversity, for from even this, I have learned much.
Gratitude, like grace, multiples when shared.
Wishing someone well can have a powerful affect on them, beyond a jolly “Good luck”.
When you all leave me comments and notes, they ring around within me for days on end.
There is an unlimited supply of good within us.
We just have to access it.
Wishing someone well by becoming his or her personal angel assures your supply will never run dry.
I am so grateful for what I get to do every day.
Wake up next to my husband in this home, on this land, in this town, in this country, on this planet.
Greet my kids, or lately, our daughter, with love.
Take up my morning routine as the sun rises, touching trees as familiar to me as the faces of my beloveds.
Write, make art, keep house, hang laundry, teach workshops, create events, assist brilliant friends, and lead with my
own brand of wonderment.