Gracious Gratitude
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Gracious Gratitude

Day 197

This morning I had occasion to discuss (digitally) the topic of gratitude lists with a friend. Like me, she is approaching a big birthday and made the decision that in the coming days she wants to begin a daily gratitude list practice.

Obviously I’m all for it.

I shared with her my experience of this nearly 200 day long journey. Actually it’s quite a bit longer than that as I had quite a few false starts. I’d get 30 days under my belt, then miss a day. Then 25 days and I’d get busy. It took several running attempts to get the rhythm and now, even on days when I don’t feel like I have anything worthwhile to spout, I force myself to sit and focus for a bit.

In our discussion, I noted that sometimes making the list is easy. In fact, sometimes the hard part is limiting the list. There are other days when it feels like every word is choking its way out of my brain onto the page. Those are the days that end up being the most impactful, if I’m being honest. For it is on those days when I find myself confronted with the realization that no matter how rough a day might have been, no matter how much stress or strain I’m under — I’m entirely blessed. Almost embarrassingly so.

The old tape that used to play in my noggin on such things would have gone something like this on a “bad” day. “Oh, you’re complaining? You think you’re having a bad day? Come on. It could be much worse. You have no right to complain.” … And so on.

Here’s the thing … that kind of attitude is no better than not having any ability to see the gratitude at all. The trick, at least as I see it, is to notice and acknowledge the difficulties, and then put them in perspective. Right size them, if you will. Neither better nor worse. It is what it is. Then I get to define it. And I make that definition based on just how spiritually fit and grounded I am at the time.

But I digress, because the point of my going in this direction today is that today, I feel rather crappy. It’s a physical pain sort of thing. Nothing serious. No injury. Just some absurdly locked up muscles and tendons in my neck. Ow. Now I could go to the place where I tell myself to shut up because there are people who live in chronic and persistent pain all the time. There are people whose bodies have failed them or whose bodies have endured great trauma and they don’t have use of limbs and digits (and some cases don’t have them at all). I’m not comparing. It’s not a contest. It’s just my state at the moment.

So when I realized I had yet to deposit my daily thoughts this shuddering sort of wince radiated out of my core. The last fucking thing I wanted to do was sit down and write. Yet here I am. And you know what I feel a little better.

Nah. That’s a lie. It hurts. But my heart feels soothed, and that’s a function more of cleansing out the layers of woe is me nonsense. You know that whining we all do when we don’t feel great.

In any case, there’s an ice pack and some ibuprofen calling me, so I’m going to head away … and tomorrow, angle back to the topic from yesterday. God. Because last night, he showed up big time. Well, for me at least. Would have been nice if he’s showed up for the Vegas Golden Knights so they didn’t get a spanking from the LA Kings, but I guess he was busy.

Two motley blooms in the full moon’s glow. Shadows of their former selves, in the shadows, waiting to see whether there’s another dawn.

Today’s Gracious Gratitude. Today I am grateful for:

  • Ibuprofen and ice packs
  • Knowing that my pain is temporary
  • Being able to share my experience of gratitude with someone who is embarking on their own gratitude list journey
  • Glorious weather
  • How, when I lay down to use my foam roller, my dogs seem to think that it means it’s time to climb on me, which gives me just the extra weight I need to crack my back
  • Having the opportunity to look someone in the eye and say I’m sorry
  • Standing my ground in the face of bullies
  • Having friends like Mariah Hanson whose presence always feels like a warm hug, even when it’s just on the phone
  • The winds of change



There are studies that show a simple practice of gratitude awareness can be a real game changer for productivity.

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