Thursday, November 19, 2015

Gratitude Shmatitude

Gratitude Shmatitude? Do you ever feel like you have very little to be grateful for? Times when all you see is the stuff you neeeed and waaaant and wish you had, cause then life would finally be good and easy and fulfilling? I've learned that I can work with what I've got...'cause you know what? When it comes down to it, what I've got is plenty and exactly what I need. You too....right now, what you have (and don't have) is all you need. You can make it work.

I know, some of you will read that and think I've lost my noodle, especially if you are going through a particularly difficult time right now, whether it be financial or health issues, marriage issues, whatever. But hold on...I'm not done..gonna rattle your cage even more...wait for it... not only do I think we can work with what we have and quit wishing for more, or different, or better....I believe it would benefit us all to be intentionally grateful for it. For ALL of it. Whatever our situation is right now, the good, the bad and the yucky. GRATEFUL. Don't roll your eyes at me. I'm serious. Gratitude = Joy. And I know we all want big joy.

"But Trish, you're an idealist. You've got on some designer brand rose colored glasses. Don't you know what is happening in the world today? Hello...Paris? How can you say we need to be grateful for that? For death and pain and destruction? How can you say we should work with that? I want some of whatever you're taking."

" But Trish, that is so much easier said than done. You don't know what it's have ____________ (insert here...not enough money, a chronic health condition, a loveless marriage, a kid that is going off the deep end, a job I hate, etc...) I can't be grateful for this and how dare you simplify it to such a degree and make it sound like I can be, with just the flick of a switch. How can I be grateful when all I see is the hardship...and the hardship hurts, and it's draining and it sucks? Easy for you to say work with what you've got...I don't have what I need! grrrrrrr"

And I say this to you my lovies.....each one of us can choose to be grateful, everyday, no matter what. No matter what we "think" we are lacking. No matter how bad we feel. We can decide to see at least one good thing, and focus on at least one good thing. To ponder on how blessed we are by that thing.  How beautiful that thing is. How much that thing means to us. That thing is like a twinkle of light in the darkness. It is magical. It is bigger and stronger than that list of things that you aren't feeling so grateful for. It's the golden ticket you guys. That one thing!

Once you are able to do that, you can even try taking it a step further. Taking a disappointment, looking at it, turning it over in your sweet hands, and finding a way to be grateful for it. What did you learn? What happened instead? When that door closed what door opened, or do you hope to open?

For instance...I recently submitted one of my posts to an online magazine for publishing consideration. They emailed me back and gave me some recommendations on how to change my story to make it more of what they wanted. The first few minutes after reading that email I was disappointed. Thought maybe I wasn't good enough to be writing and actually sharing it. Then I took that little disappointment, tilted my head and looked at it again, from a slightly different angle. I realized I was thankful for the response (even if it wasn't what I had hoped for) and for the feedback. I have to assume they receive quite a few emails, and they took the time to email me back with suggestions. Then I thought about it. Did I want to change what I had written originally to suit their criteria? No. I didn't. I wrote it the way it was written for a reason. The metaphor I used (which didn't really resonate with them) was purposeful. So again, I felt myself grateful. Grateful for the "thanks but no thanks" because it gave me a chance to reaffirm my purpose in writing.

Within the last 30 minutes, as I am typing, my boys started arguing and calling names. Am I grateful that they like to tear each other down? No. Am I grateful that they are whining and yelling and driving me to drink? No. So what can I decide to be grateful for here. Besides the obvious and very general "I'm grateful for my kids", I tried to find more specific little nuggets to be grateful for. I am grateful that even though we have a small house, each of my boys has their own room in to which they are imprisoned presently. I am grateful for the "I'm sorry Mom"s that were half heartily spoken. I'm grateful that I get to have a glass of wine very soon.

Some things in life, are big. Much bigger than dissed stories and bratty kids. Some things tear your heart out, throw it on the ground and do a little dance. Death for instance. Losing someone you love, whether it be due to a violent act or due to illness, suddenly or slowly, whatever the circumstance is, death is BIG. It makes you look at life, at least for a while. It drains every ounce of emotion, numbs your mind, and wreaks havoc on your physical body. It makes you question your faith and the possibility of an afterlife. It leaves you lonely. How do we find gratitude in all of that despair? Can you find one thing in that big ol' sorrowful mess to thank God for? You can, you always and everyday can, even then.

We live in a world that always wants more. Wants better. Wants everything. But lovies, we can be responsible for our own perspective on life. We don't have to want want want. We can thank thank thank, if we choose to.

Choose gratitude every day and you choose joy every day.

<3 Trishy