Today is a day to focus on gratitude. Really, every day should be, but I’m lazy and I get tired and I get distracted. Okay, fine….I like to whine. It’s funny that I like to whine so much, but why would I do it if I didn’t like it so much? Gratitude feels so much better. And, yet…
I can find an infinte number of things to whine about. My latest is my health. I haven’t quite crossed into the Why Me type of diatribe, but I’m not far. And who is responsible for my health? Right. And I find that the biggest things I whine about are the things that are ultimately in my realm of influence. I complain that I don’t get on the mat enough, that I don’t study yoga enough, that I don’t get enough exercise, that I don’t…have enough.
And even though I honestly believe the universe is abundant and there is enough, that is what I whine about. So mostly, I whine about me.
In yoga there is a concept, a precept, called Ahimsa. It means do no harm or avoidance of violence. So we’re talking the obvious don’t hit your friends, but we’re also talking the more subtle don’t harm yourself. So honor yourself by taking care of your body, mind and spirit. Eat well, exercise, don’t over-indulge. These are all concepts of Ahimsa. Negative self-talk is a way to harmful. Negative self-talk is damaging and violent. This whining that I do? It’s harmful to me.
Sometimes it feels like the rain is pouring down and I’m traversing a muddy, slippery road. I can see the damage and the hurt at times, and then it eludes my grasp and I go back to it. Why? Because it’s easy, because on the one hand our society is full of bravado and boasting, but on the other hand we’re a pretty self-deprecating bunch.
And what is the answer to most of what ails us? Gratitude. When I am mindful and grateful for what I have, what I do, who I am, I can no longer engage in self-harm. I will remember to curb the negative self-talk and focus on what’s good about being Melissa. I will chose my foods carefully and not over-indulge, I will want to get lots of exercise and fresh air and drink lots of water and generally, take care of me. Because when I’m grateful it’s not just about what’s going well in my life and the world around me. it’s also about being thankful for the difficulties which teach me. It’s about finding a place in my heart for the hard times where I grow and expand spiritually. It’s about embracing those people that sometimes I’d rather avoid.
And further out, it’s about realizing how many people work very hard to make my life as easy as it is. It’s about being mindful of the people who do the back-breaking work to put food on my table and all the women who’ve struggled and come before that make the choices I make in my life okay. It’s about saying thank you to my spouse and kissing my kids and telling them how much I appreciate them.
So Wednesday is now gratitude day. It’s the day I remind myself to think about how I got here and what I’m here for. It’s the day that I remember to say thanks, to give thanks and to offer thanks. Perhaps this small step will blossom and become more of my every day habit. And that kind of action is easy to pay forward. So that when I’m mindful and aware of my blessing I can teach and remind others to do the same.