Monday, September 29, 2008
What Gratitude Looks Like
Here is the photo of a Colorado sunset that I promised a few days ago. I was sitting at my computer, as usual, and happened to look out the window. When I saw the extraordinary beauty of the sky, I rushed outside with my camera to memorialize the event. I've always been a sucker for sunsets, always believed the most beautiful ones were found in my hometown in South Florida. I think you'll agree, I need to broaden my horizons...clearly beauty travels.
As I've mentioned in previous posts, I am a great fan of gratitude. I have a little black Moleskine notebook that I use as a gratitude journal and I've found on really bad days, one good cure is to get it out and write a list of those things for which I am grateful.
I'm actually having a good day, this is the start of my fifth and final week in Evergreen, Colorado. Outside my window today a blue sky is filled with herds of white clouds grazing their way slowly over the mountains, the only sound is that of birdsong.
After I finish this post I will get to work on Chapter 33 of The Glass Mystery and will be writing every day for the rest of the week.
Just those two things, place and productivity, are sources of immense gratitude. I am grateful for this opportunity to be doing what I love in a place of great beauty.
I am grateful that my mother is feeling better after a harrowing event with a medication imbalance sent her to the Emergency Room last week. I am grateful that she is surrounded by family and friends and great in-home medical help and is feeling much better.
I am grateful that one of my best friends from Baku, B., came for the weekend and we had a very fun-filled girls' weekend. We went to a casino and I learned how to play Blackjack. I also learned that I do not have a future career operating motor vehicles on expressways, especially if it entails night driving. (translation: I drive like your Grandma, only slower).
I am grateful for truly great writers, who inspire me with their words, ideas, and the magical way they express both. I finished One Hundred Years of Solitude last week. I also finished The 21 Most Effective Prayers of the Bible, which I've been using as a morning devotional, and which really is effective and encouraging. I'm currently reading The Space Between Us, by Thrity Umrigar, a remarkable book of India, families, and which contains some of the best character development I've read. I can't wait to read more of Ms. Umrigar's books.
While I'm probably stealing this thought from Oprah, I truly believe that keeping track of our sources of gratitude improves our outlook on life. What's the magic? Maybe it's about balance. If our thoughts are only filled with the worries of life (turn on the news and we are reminded daily), then our mood, our outlook reflects those thoughts. We then become unable to appreciate the good that we already have and the good that may come our way if we are open to it. I'm not trying to sound woo-woo....there are moments when worry brings me to my knees and tears that flow down my cheeks, but if I focus on that to the exclusion of everything else, I become paralyzed. If I stop, instead, and take five minutes to focus on what's good and right that act creates a balance on the other side of the seesaw and allows me to move forward with hope and positive intention.
So, take a couple minutes today and make up your own gratitude list. And tell me what you are grateful for!