What is most meaningful to me in my life? Right now?
I think that looks good. It is a start, plus I can imagine where all the many subsets of things that I adore fit into these blocked out categories (food is creativity to me, reading is discovery as well as learning). Best not to over think, especially, certainly when these are what I hope to base the next chapter of my life upon. What kind of alchemy will be required to make a path out of this I have no idea but for now I am gathering the ingredients with intention. And yes, I realize well that a lot of these items are already present in my day to day.
My instinct tells me that gratitude provides the force of a common denominator, un lien. "How can that be?" you might wonder, lips pursed. "How can appreciating what is bring about what is not yet present?" It is a good question but I will just give you the annoyingly vague, redhead mystical answer that I am "going on a hunch."
And gratitude, at least using it in an active not platitudinal sense, has been a key element of just that during these past seven months. I have several practical posts that I have been preparing regarding the backbones of this Project of Me but that same subtle voice suggested that I throw this one out en plus, hoping that it will roll out like a stone skipping across the water, "just in case." Someone might need this today.
When I first arrived back in the States in March, I remember blinking through my jet lag under the harsh lights of the pharmacy. I was torn about whether or not to spend the money - less than $5 but I have to be that careful these days - on pens plus a black and white composition book that could fit in the palm of my hand. Through my haze, I remembered back to a bad depression in my 20s when, despite so much promise glowing nearly visibly, I had to make a list of all that I was grateful for to get me moving in the mornings. I knew that the same practice would be a wire to hold onto while walking forward through the dark times ahead. And it has been. Everyday I scribble out a list of ten things that I am grateful for; it takes me less than a minute. Simple but truly effective.
I just picked up that notebook and dared to read backwards for the first time since I started it. It gives my heart balance to see that, yes, there is a progression. Here are a few examples starting from mid-March to present...
"the baby bird on the roof"
"a comfortable bed"
"Ellie, friends near and far"
"my old posts on the blog"
"That I am ok with the quiet today"
"the crickets song"
"A sense of home in my heart"
"That hate isn't winning"
"unconditional love of dogs"
"my senses working"
and from my last list:
So, with the insistence of a missionary I am going to yet again invoke psychologist, author and meditation teacher Tara Brach, who, in the podcast that I was listening to this morning called "Happiness for No Reason, Part Two" (I also highly recommend Part One) talked her listeners through a small exercise of whispering out loud to finish the phrase..."I am grateful for..." and then feeling how the answer lands or resonates within us before asking it again. It felt lovely to do, a bit like unspooling a prayer or building a safe place to wait out a storm, such as the husk of the local barns.
So what do you think, do you want to try it? It's ok if you feel foolish, I bet most people do. This is just something that you are doing for yourself anyway. This may be stating the obvious but I could feel my responses warming up my heart with a quite comforting song.
Do you feel like sharing what came up for you? It is more than ok if you don't, it is just a thought.
Thank goodness that we are all in this together. I intend to keep saying it because there is no day when that idea isn't needed. You all mean more to me than you can ever possibly know. The love that I feel for you (and receive from you) helps me to love better in my life.
With much gratitude (je suis désolée mais c'est vrai),