Don’t you hate when you know better and fall down anyhow? Guilty! While I give myself credit for being willing to keep evolving, on the other hand, I find myself frustrated that I forget the most basic of lessons.
A couple of months ago, I started hosting an Artist Way group, a 12- week program of reading and journaling meant to get you more in touch with who you are and what you are here to create. Well in the process of beginning to journal, I started to hear the same old voice in my head, resisting the process. I am disappointed, why is this so hard, why do I have to do this…… You get the picture. So, I asked myself, how can I get beyond this? Then clear as day, my hand wrote, “Count your blessings.”
Instinct told me that if I truly did not want my journaling to turn into a ‘whine’ session daily, I needed to return to a practice I had not been committed to in several months – Appreciation. It seemed that my life had been difficult with the closing of a business, children moving, pressures from employees, and letting go of many ‘things’ that no longer served me. Then smack. Right in front of me was one of my biggest ever issues: always wanting to move on to more without taking the time to realize all I have. Forgetting that some of my greatest ‘blessings’ have come from my most difficult challenges. Then remembering I don’t want to rush anymore, I want to feel my emotions, I want to feel life not push it forward.
So, each day I am using ‘Appreciation.’ I discovered a few years ago that looking at things closer really helped me slow down at another time of major changes. I feel appreciation is more sensory than a simple gratitude list (which is wonderful don’t get me wrong). You really have to look at it closely to truly appreciate something. It is like truly seeing the whole of something.
Appreciation is like a present-moment work of art. For instance, if you really look at graffiti, the picture the artist, thinking of how they probably did their work in the middle of the night, carrying paint across town, you will see more than just a picture. Or when you drive, noticing a tree and appreciating the bark, the sky behind it, the leaf colors, etc.
Being appreciative slows me down and makes life more interesting. I need less because suddenly the fabric on my clothes or the fire reflecting on the tile is a study of life. I can be grateful for my kids, because they are healthy. Yet, what I appreciate about them is how amazing they can be, funny or stubborn, independent or always wanting more. No matter. When you truly appreciate something, you just notice it for what it is. You can see it as part of a bigger picture, and maybe even find some humor in how you have missed actually tasting your food, smelling the fall air, seeing your kids grow into actual people who support themselves – all because you were worried about some perceived lack you might suffer someday.
As for counting my blessings, I AM. (Don’t worry, we won’t be making an appreciation bracelet). What I can say is that by making a practice of this daily, my life seems profoundly full, and I feel happy. My problems did not change, I did.
It is wonderful and poignant for me to be back to what started me on this journey many years ago, a deep practice of being present in my life. I feel this inner sense of taking my power back, and it came back because I stopped taking life for granted.
Truly grateful for and with much love,