Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Update on Gratitude

It's been 6 months now, since I made the decision to embrace gratitude. At this point, I should step back and see whether this has worked.

My resolution was to be grateful, every day, for something. It started out easy. I was grateful for a break in the heavy traffic on Roosevelt Road going by the office so I could safely make a left turn to go home. I was grateful for food, for clean clothes, for a job. I was grateful for my cats, for a day without bills, for friends who emailed or even wrote letters.

If you've been reading this space for awhile, you know my mobility gradually declined over the winter. I found myself wrestling with the fear of a snowfall that locked me in and the inability to dig myself out. That was a test of being grateful. I found myself chasing away the fear by being grateful for warmth and Oberwies delivery of ice cream and a job that I had to get out of bed to go to.

I realized, as I worked to ready the house for Carole and David's visit, that the "wouldda's", "shoudda's", "couldda's" don't come to me as much as they used to. I find myself consciously saying, "Be grateful for x" when things seem overwhelming. I am still my own worse critic and that nagging voice that tells me how I have failed can be in my ear at the worst times. I can still get down over little things, things that, once the low point as passed, look silly for being magnified as much as I did.

Depression still lingers, but I find myself more even. There have been some real lows and an acquaintance doing some real damage to my self-esteem. But, unconsciously, I found myself rallying around the "Be grateful for ... " mantra I tried to burn into my brain back in January. Do I wish things were different? Of course I do. I don't, however, spend days dwelling on how bad things are. Even at the depths of the inability to be very mobile, I found myself saying, "I am grateful I can still do cross-stitch."

Most days, I don't even think about choosing to be grateful. I think I can safely say I've made it part of my life. Some days, I have to tell myself to make a grateful choice. I think that's the way it is when you're undoing a mindset you've been decades cultivating. I often don't even notice the choice until I find myself taking a deep breath in the midst of turmoil and saying, "But I am grateful that I have this. Life is good."

Today, I am grateful for sunshine and clouds and leftovers and reports that keep me occupied and a job and a car to get to that job and cats waiting for me to come home. And I'm grateful for you, reading this, that you care to come to my little space to see what I'm up to.

Thank you.

Beverage:  African Rooibos tea


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