I have been having a tough month. Not tough in the way some other months have been – there hasn’t been a majorly upsetting life event, or a lot of physical troubles, or anything like that. It’s been more of a slog than anything else. February can often be that way, I think.
Earlier this month, I noticed that when I came home from work (which is late, I’m directing a middle school play – part of the reason for the slog) I’d join my husband in the kitchen, and we’d begin our comments on the day with the bad things that happened, or by complaining about how tired we were. I asked him if we could try beginning our conversations instead with the premise that we were incredibly lucky.
We’ve been trying it, and it’s been helpful, although he often has to remind me of the deal. I find I’m not in the practice of gratitude – it’s partly my worry-wart nature, and probably partly the society we live in.
Gratitude is a practice. My sophomore year of college was a tough year for me, and I remember every night, I used to write down the beautiful moments of my day. This didn’t take away any pain, and in some ways, opening ourselves up to one emotion can make the others more vivid. But what the writing did do, was bring a sense of wonder to a life that can sometimes feel grey. Now, when I can’t sleep (which has increased with the play directing) I lay awake practicing my breathing, and listing what I like about my life.
Today, I am grateful for the apple trees that were recently planted in my yard. It’s strange, I didn’t know this before, but in our Pacific Northwest climate, it is the wintertime when you plant the trees.
Tomorrow, I will probably have to remind myself of this again. We practice something until it becomes second-nature. I think I have years of practicing ahead of me, but I’m grateful for the chance to try.