What I Need This Month: Gratitude
I’m not going to sugarcoat it.
September and most of October were difficult, on way too many levels.
I got caught up in the awful business of being sick. I also felt my passion slipping away. I got lost in the mechanics and responsibility of writing. I doubted my voice, my abilities, even my heart, and began to resent the challenge my new path presented; instead of being thankful for the chance at success, and the happiness and satisfaction that can be derived from the climb. By the third week of last month I desperately wanted to turn things around. I was so tired of feeling numb inside, tired of not having fun.
I made a decision. I want to present a new theme at the beginning of each month. I want to carefully think about what I need as one month ends and another begins. I want to deeply contemplate what I hope to achieve. What do I require emotionally? How do I get where I need and want to be?
Earlier this year, tired of feeling down and unappreciative of who I am, I decided to start a simple yet meaningful ritual. I made the commitment that every day I would write down five things I liked about myself. This easy journaling exercise was very effective. I even dedicated a few pages of my book to it, describing how it so easily delivered me to a place of balance and self love.
But the journey to that self love and acceptance is a precarious one. It is very much a one step forward, two steps back proposition at times. It didn’t take long for me to get distracted, and after several months I set my ritual to the side. The time has come to get back to the business of loving myself and loving life, and doing so with complete, unfettered sincerity.
Where do I begin?
I start by dedicating this month to being grateful for all I have and who I am, and not only will I get back to journaling the five things I like about myself on a daily basis, I will also begin the daily ritual of journaling five things I am grateful for. I do not intend to stop at months’ end, but instead continue well beyond, every single day.
Here in America, we will be giving thanks for all that is good in our lives on the fourth Thursday of this month. I suppose my timing is appropriate, given that I have chosen gratitude as my primary focus over the next several weeks, to get me back to loving life and fully engaged in what moves me. Like so many other positive emotions, gratitude holds a tremendous power. It leads to a joy that can then be found in the seemingly most ordinary moments.
I am counting on it.
This morning I looked around. There were things to be thankful for at every turn. So many opportunities for gratitude to shine its ambient light. I found Jack snuggling in his blanket on the couch, his brown spotted tummy moving up and down peacefully with every breath. I looked at Grace on the other end, her beautiful head atop her favorite pillow, her paws twitching, her whole body captivated by a pleasant dream. The scene was a far cry from how we found them; one locked in a lonely cage at the shelter, the other abandoned mercilessly in a neighborhood park.
My son and daughter are happy and safe, and maybe, just maybe, I am a good mom after all.
There is a slight frost on my kitchen window. The clouds and cold bite of the morning air signal fall’s presence; I am wrapped in the warmth and comfort of my home. I am so grateful for the roof over my head, these walls that shield me from the elements, and the love that is contained by them. My hands grip my oversized coffee cup. There is a snowman painted on the outside, and a lovely message etched along the inside rim. My mom found it for me at Starbucks on a quiet New Year’s Eve afternoon, knowing how much I would love it. Her devotion, thoughtfulness and generosity know no limits.
A simple coffee cup that means far more to me than the extravagant things gracing the shelves of my closet. It fits into my red manicured hands so perfectly. And oddly I feel glamorous, despite my oversized ensemble: a t-shirt, snowflake patterned pajama bottoms and matching slippers.
As I look around, above all I feel grateful for this day. I can do what I choose. My time, my emotions and my life are mine for the molding. What a great day to be alive.
I’m off to an amazing start. Already my journal is overflowing.
Let’s see what my emotions ask of me in December.
May you find things to be grateful for this month, friends.
Make it a beautiful one.