Some weeks, it is a struggle to be grateful and I don’t get it. Why should it be so hard? We live in a beautiful developed nation; we have political leaders we vote in; there are no pirates off the coast waiting to hijack our boats and kill us for our relatives’ money; we have free good schools to help our kids learn good things; people line up nicely for ski lifts, grocery checkouts, and gas pumps instead of grabbing a spot sideways and pushing their way in; and there is food in the cupboard.
But it is just hard sometimes to get off the pity pot. I had 4 or 5 days in a stretch, waking up grumpy, going to bed unsatisfied with my day, and struggling to keep my hair straight.
1. When we do baby steps towards our goals, those count too. I was whining and complaining about my lack of companionship until I realized I could call or email someone and make plans (hit me on the head, please). It may not bring immediate company, but it would add up if I called a few people, say make one reach out each day to a different person I enjoy spending time with. By Friday, voila! Company up the wazoo. Baby steps count to help us manifest big things too.
2. Weekly treats. Think of it as getting your own allowance. An allowance of fun. You don’t ALWAYS have to finish the chores before you get to play outside.
3. ELF Makeup at grocery stores and Walgreens. It is really cheap. $1 eye pencils and lip sticks. You can afford to be extravagant and buy 3 colors! Woohoo, go crazy.
4. I have not said a proper “Thank You God” for quesadillas. And thank you God for microwaves to cook them in. What did we eat growing up? How did we survive without them as teenagers? My kids make and eat at least one a day. So, thank you God for microwaved quesadillas- mana from heaven.
5. I got this mantra last night from a friend. It is true, but we don’t always believe it. I was just lecturing my kid this morning on not listening to Eminem because of the uphill battle we already have with our internal messages… I heard if we repeat this 10x a day morning noon and night, it will maybe grab a foothold in the mangled neurons. “All of life comes to me with ease and joy and glory”.
6. And finally, I am thankful for the concept that maybe, just maybe, that grumpy feeling I wake up with is not mine at all but someone else’s that tossed it over to me. If it is not mine, I can toss it out too and believe that life is good, God is good, and I am good too.
“What is Gratitude? The opposite of resentment is gratitude (from the Latin gratia =favor). Gratitude is more than an occasional “thanks be to God.” Gratitude is the attitude that enables us to let go of anger, receive the hidden gifts of those we want to serve, and make these gifts visible to the community as a source of celebration.”
-Henri Nouwen, Following the Movements of the Spirit