I woke up this morning with a foreign feeling of gratitude. The object was my backyard. It’s one of the first things I see. It’s big and green and landscaped with curves like a winding stream. I love it. But I’ve seen it ten thousand times. Why so grateful now?
I’ve been trying to be a grateful person for years with little success. I kept a gratitude journal. Then I tried to think about things to be grateful for during morning meditations. I stuffed my head with gratitude lists and waited for the feel-good reward. Nothing.
Gratitude seeped in when I slowed down, way down, and gave myself space to listen, think and feel. It’s something I decided to do when my dad died last summer. I didn’t want to rush back to work like I did when my mother died. That tactic had long-term, negative consequences. My mother died thirty-seven years ago, and I still cry every time we drive by a car accident.
Gratitude took root during nine months of slow living. I spent most of my time at home, sitting around, reading, writing, gardening and doing household chores. Of all the seeds I planted, I wasn’t expecting gratitude to germinate. I had my mind on peace, forgiveness, and love. My fingers were crossed for better writing and good mental health. And then out of the blue gratitude bloomed. It was as if I’d found a lost lottery ticket with a winning combination.
I hope my good fortune comes to mind the next time I freak out about not being a busy person. Or when someone asks me what I do for a living. In these instances, the words blog writer seem like a joke. I feel lazy and unimportant until I go home and revisit my choices.
I’m truly grateful for my life. It’s not the kind of existence that lends itself to awards or turns at the podium, and that’s just fine with me.