Hoping that all who are having to stay in on a June evening will find relief soon.
“Okay, what are you grateful for on this rainy day?” Self asks Self. Here is my list: good sleep, justice workers, Margo at Panera, course participants, THIS DAY, statio*, and the SSJE garden. In my 2021 gratitude book , these are numbers 2049-2055. I always write 7. If you do the math you’ll see that I miss some days altogether, but I never write just 1 or 2 or 3, always 7. You see, coming up with 3 is easy, whereas coming up with 7 pushes me and encourages me to be positive about situations that are really awful.
Right now I’m struggle with that. I just heard that a friend has esophageal cancer. Oh, I can come with some gratitudes that can arise from her condition, but right now they feel pretty pathetic, and definitely don’t outweigh the prognosis. I’m working on it, but no way does cancer trump the gratitude that is life.
* Satio is being where you are supposed to be before you need to go there. Joan Chittister, in The Monastic Heart.
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you undoubted know that I am big on expressing gratitude. My mom started her day with her four: her family and friends, health, faith, and life. She knew how to sum it up,; to be sure, gratitude was at the forefront of what she did each day. I try to do the same.
From time to time we all can find ourselves down or depressed, and some people seem to have a more negative disposition than others. And then, the pandemic has brought all of us new challenges to how we respond to what going on. Gratitude doesn’t always become our default position.
In a recent group discussion I participated, two of us started by sharing something positive, three with something negative. I’m not belittling the tough stuff that’s going on with people; I’m just observing. I know and believe that the way we start the day, a conversation, or an activity affects our attitude toward it, and even the outcome.
Would anyone dispute that it is easier to be content with silence, solitude, and simplicity on a beautiful fall day? Science support that mood swings improve when the sun is out. But the goal, at least my goal, is to settle into deep contentment regardless of the weather. I can love ‘a’ rainy day if ‘a’ means one. But even then, a tiny pall sneaks in.
These days I am aware that whatever I write comes from a privileged position. That’s who I am, but it doesn’t mean I want to shake it off and go forth on my merry way. Let me never forget that I’m in a cozy house on a rainy day!!
Remembering is a both trivial and powerful. Trivial if I take if for granted; powerful if I find ways to be grateful.
Cataract surgery is complete; right and left eyes done. The world is bright, each leaf has a distinctive shape, and I can read and work on a jigsaw puzzle without glasses. This means no glasses for driving; thankfully my license agrees. In the evening I need a stronger reading light, but I can fine one around the house.
I am very grateful that Medicare pays for this and that I can afford the extra for the corrective lens. I am very grateful that I live in a country and state with state-of-the-art medical technology and doctors. I am very grateful that some of these doctors join Doctors Without Borders and perform cataract surgery for people around the world.
On this day after Thanksgiving I could be talking in my usual way about gratitude--what we’re grateful for, what we ‘should’ be grateful for, personal graitudes, and gratitudes for the world. I’m all in for these kinds of expressions, but today I’m thinking of the power of stating gratitude in positive terms. For example, “How wonderful we can get out for a walk,” instead of, “Well at least it is not raining.”
Speaking positively keeps me away from making judgments. I more apt to see people for who they are, rather than who they are not.
So, on this day after Thanksgiving, I am grateful for friends and family just as they are, and for the food just as it was prepared and served.
I feel mysteriously calm about yesterday’s election results. No, not all of my candidates won, but enough did to make me think that democracy is still at work. It’s not the thinking that brought on the calm, but the realization that not everyone agrees with me, and that’s okay because good is prevailing. I feel hopeful.
My words may sound trite and obvious, but my feelings aren’t. These feelings of relief, acceptance, compassion, and love for all human beings are hard to come by. They are deep and yet light. This morning they got me out for an early walk to appreciate the beauty and freedom of the moment. Very grateful, very hopeful.
With all the action going on these days—Boston’s World Series win and the midterm elections coming up tomorrow—I’ve decided to take the day for silence, solitude, and simplicity. Reading, writing, meditating, knitting, and visiting some friends who are now spending their days in assisted living facilities.
I tell you this not because I think YOU need to settle into life’s big picture, but because I know that’s what I need.
Memories of wisdom from friends and family help. My mom would be telling me to go out and do something for someone else. A friend recently told me that when she gets up she tells herself, “Let me not make this day about me.” My husband and I, when we remember, start the day offering a couple of gratitudes, one for the world, one for ourselves. Reading, writing, knitting, and meditating always settles me down.
All of these actions touch on silence, solitude, and simplicity; not always out there in my everyday life, but in my heart.
I took this picture on my walk this morning. While photographing I was greeted by a friendly and chatty dog, followed from around the corner of the house by the owner.
Me being friendly and chatty: Gorgeous tree…. we must be grateful.... in fact, I’m taking a gratitude walk.
My neighbor being friendly and chatty: That’s why I’m doing in my back yard…. Sitting and being grateful.
Oh, the lazy days of summer. A slow pace for this blog. Here’s a little catch up.
Most important is Wheaties. Thank you thank you to the several friends who have bought me a box or two. For now, the shelves have been replenished, although with the old design. I have not idea what to expect when these are consumed. And, how long will that take? Which gets me wondering how long those little wheat flakes sit in a box—months? Years?
Last week my husband and I spent two night in Vermont, and this weekend we return for a family reunion. Thankfully the three and a half hour drive is primarily along winding roads through idyllic New England towns.
Some friends just sent me long lists of books they are reading, so tonight, as I listen to the Red Sox beat the Yankees for the fourth time in a row, I will go on line and see what books I can get from inter-library loan.
Life is good and for that, I am very grateful.
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