Tag Archives: gratitude

we have happiness on tap, plus 2 for 1 mixed drinks and metaphors

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inevitably some time this week, i will feel a satisfied shrug as i watch my cup runneth over. i plan on catching all of that run-off with a mouth eager for the adult beverage foaming over the top of the glass, which, as the head disappears, we will see is but half full.

i woke this morning feeling only half full of gratitude, which is more optimistic than half empty, but is still a long enough tilt of the cup to fool me…for the physics of ice-shapes and cups to dump the emotion suddenly, unceremoniously down my gullet, over my muzzle, around the corners of my mouth and onto the leaf applique that decorates my new holiday sweatshirt.

i don’t actually own a sweatshirt with a leaf applique, but the analogy as a whole brings to mind a new holiday toast: may my clothes be half drenched in gratitude. that may remain a solo toast, completed here in my quiet, baby-free house before festivities begin outside my sister’s kitchen.

i mention all of this not to publish my “i’m grateful for….(family, fortune, love, people who bring booze as their hostess gift, mute relatives who do dishes before heading back to their hotel rooms on their unicorns…).” i do this because as soon as i opened this page, my layer of happiness and joy wiggled a little closer to the top, and like blubber, wrapped me in a blanket of warmth and promise.

so here’s me, in a hooded-snuggie of whale fat and calm, heading into the day and the holiday chaos of a major metro. here’s me, finding my gratitude first thing. i don’t even have to be that specific with myself anymore…gratitude as a notion has become a lifestyle for me, never more so than in these last couple of years.

the coming long weekend could have been…and still could be, i suppose…hard for me. it’s packed with fractured memories and a few broken dreams. the wounds they left still get warm sometimes. the healing continues. my thankfulness is healing me. it kept my heart open just a crack, until my drive and joy and love from others could swing it wide and let in the light.

just a few musings this morning, to get my head right…i’ll soon make myself late, obliviously drunk on this gratitude, until i wake up in just minutes with my usual hangover of rushing and cursing.

happy friday-colored wednesday, everyone. stay connected, stay in love with this life, stay safe and be loved.

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20 Pieces of Flair – A week so positive you’ll want to slap it

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it feels like a drug, writing after that two-week crash-sojourn. i just had to cram in a post…short, sweet and blatantly rushed. i’ve got 30 minutes. i’m here because i can’t help it. this just keeps getting better and better, especially the more i read out here on our sarcasmosphere. (and i firmly assert that my enthusiasm results only partially from drinking three times the daily recommended amount of caffeine…while my typos and the light sweat between my fingers and keyboard may be 100% attributed to that factor).

so, i’m going to throw out a cop-out post and list 20 things that can make a week spectacular if you are me:

  1. enough hours and sick leave to take off a huge portion of the week
  2. enough drugs to make sick leave more enjoyable than work
  3. enough health to enjoy coffee if not much food. (no doubt supportive of improved health, at least on my action figure planet*)
  4. progress on my very own business adventure in copywriting  (hardheadcopy.com)
  5. watching my ego squirm as my heart takes command
  6. a good boyfriend
  7. humbling synchronicity unmatched in detail and delight
  8. firming up family vacation plans for a yummy thanksgiving
  9. an upcoming itinerary carrying littlebean and me to see one of my besties and then my family
  10. a family located on the sunny coast of floreeda
  11. tickets to see my all-time favorite band, widespread panic, all acoustic, all kinds of intimate, before they head out on hiatus
  12. a mystically managed last-minute surprise plan for someone special (see item #6)
  13. mystically managed last-minute plans that include such coolness for me that i want to burst
  14. looking forward all week to plans tonight, both serious and hilarious (a family member introduction…at a comedy club. i must say, it’s nice cover for awkward laughs)
  15. several more interesting and unusual plans for this weekend (and how cool and social they will make me look to my FB friends)
  16. not being too sick to participate in those plans
  17. babysitting older sisters (and brothers in-law 🙂 )
  18. a bunch of extra hits and likes on posts thanks to a little outreach
  19. this forum for trumpeting my own horn
  20. the other trumpeteers i’ve stumbled into out here who crack my shit up

*barista sold separately

pretty good,  yah? i’m savoring. people tell me life can be this good. sometimes i tell others that. i could do a better job telling me that, but the fear of disappointment gives my demons something to do while i live the good life. happy weekending and thank you to each and every person who hit this blog, any page on it, thought enough to like something and in some cases, inexplicably and perversely signed up for more. for those of you that stick around, you’ll watch an evolution. the evolution of my outrageous, loving self. and i take pointers…so if you figure out something about this life before i do, please feel free to share.

 

 

desirous of everything at the same time

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with a nod to jack k in the title of this post, i’ll start the whole thing off with another quote, author unknown:

“Sometimes the heart does what it wants; without asking the mind.”

my daughter is in her crib sleep-muttering “i want more….i want more.” oh, honey, i hear ya…and i’m here to tell you, it never stops. i’m fairly certain she is talking about candy from last night’s hallowed adventures. she’ll want more of that until she’s gumming every piece. and she wants a “grankey toooo….” (toddler for “blanket” – the companion kind, small format, like a baby polio-blanket). low-hangin’ fruit for a mom. pretty easy heart desires to fulfill).

i want more too. and better. and a blanket. and most of my wants are at best vagueries unavailable by delivery or moms.

i want better health…but i don’t want to do much about it except wait for the shiny god doctors to heal me, no matter how much i know it’s up to me. it’s not as though i’m sick despite a healthy diet, regular exercise or stress-relieving meditation.

i want more business…but i’ve barely begun and can only wish for the gift gods to hand it to me without proper development, work, success and failure.

i want better security…right now. i want my business to take off and take over my income so i can stop sweating what will happen to me now that the most secure job i’ve ever had is hitting some shoals.  i want to be independent and successful enough in the next two days or two months to never worry what happens there. i want it to happen to me without me working too hard…mostly at guess work.

i want more time...to feel like i can do more than catch up, spend more time with my daughter and dog, more time giving back. i want it now, magically…the removal of some huge responsibility so i can have that mythical “free time” that we always fill with something else, many times with things outside of our intended focus.

i want more tattoos…those i’m willing to wait, work for and sit through.

other than that, i feel i have enough. enough love, enough caring friends, enough light and sense of purpose. i have enough inspiration and support. i have enough fulfillment from my child, my relationships and the goals i’m plodding toward. i have so much bounty and so many blessings. thanks to the abundance of all those things, i have the capacity to get what i want…though not at the pace and ease that seems coolest to me (instant!)…all of the things above are achievable if my heart and attitude stay in the right place at least most of the time.

i will always want more. i’m a driven person. i don’t want more “stuff,” i’m well past that demon…but i want to keep striving and giving, achieving and passing on the favors and support i get along the way. sounds noble right? (not to be confused with the nobel i would like to collect one day – oooh, there’s some ego, not exactly an altruistic goal)…but that noble desire is honest. i can tell because no matter what excuses my demons make, my heart is plugging away at those wants, filled with lots of love and gratitude. my heart is doing the work where my mind feels lazy and wants things to happen not develop.

my heart has been working for my best interest, noticeably, since my world exploded a couple of years ago. i’ve become very impressed with my heart…especially the way it takes the initiative, whether popular or not at the demons’ cool kids lunchtable. it doesn’t care if they make fun of it, or ignore it, or talk over it. it’s on a mission.

the truth is, i still think of myself as lazy. anyone other achievers have that problem? i literally have to write things down in order to believe i could have done them. try it sometime when you feel like your progress is flagging. my heart has accomplished so much more than my mind will ever allow it to take credit for. besides, those demons will still be lamenting about the glory days, long after my heart has conquered my imperfect world.

cheers. love yourself. we are all saints today. namaste.

shiny up your gratitude and give it a display case, or “3 Things You Should Just Learn to Accept”

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so i decided to rest my aching muscles last night by moving furniture…swapping one heavy table at ground level for a large CD cabinet in a third floor walk-up. as two girls, attractive ones even, my best friend and i were unable to find anyone with arms and a back muscle or two to help us out. we’d been trying since november. we threatened to hire an anonymous odd jobs type guy (a.k.a. a craigslist killer) if someone didn’t step forward to offer some help…there were bribes involved…but no takers. the bribes offered were of the garden variety…beer, food…plus the guilt trip of maintaining our personal safety. perhaps lap dances would have garnered more enthusiasm, but based on the response crickets we heard tuning themselves for a long requiem, i’m not sure anyone but anonymous odd-jobs criminal guy would have taken the offer.

so i went with the ol’ “date a strong guy who likes you and hit him up for favors” trick. classic. and he still likes me, even though i forgot to mention the stairs/third floor walk-up part until just before our departure. i swear i forgot. and the truth is, he offered to help, and i accepted. it was that simple…except that accepting help is hard for me, and asking is damn near impossible. now that i’m on my own and defiantly independent, with a kid, a dog, two cats and a house full of stairs and heavy things, i’ve had a chance to flaunt my strength, and stomp around all satisfied, like my 2-year old, pointing at all the things i’ve done, “all by myself” (or in her words, “by Self!”).

yesterday i accepted help that was offered graciously, from someone who offers help regularly to friends and family all around him. i also remember friends, a funny and generous couple whom i’d only just met, who volunteered to spend a day painting my townhouse with me. i remember the humble gratitude i felt that day, just like the gratitude i felt last night admiring the freshly open spot where that table was, and the CD/OCD project i now have waiting for me in my basement. the truth is, we really do very little “by Self!” there is always some village, visible or invisible, helping us out.

this asking for help and accepting it thing is part of a skill set that i’ve been working on for a long time. these are skills i never learned at home. in fact, they were discouraged there, either intentionally or through the magic of guilt or through the subtle art of underminement. (that’s a term of art, my art, or maybe al gore said it first, ew). so here are three lessons on graciousness that i’ve reluctantly learned, and with serious difficulty, accepted as practice:

1) learn how to accept a compliment – don’t qualify it. i still do this more often that i’d like. it’s that “oh, this old thing?” mentality…the need to apologize for or downplay your role in presenting something worth complimenting. i read somewhere a long time ago, that the only thing you need to say in response to a real compliment is a real “well, thank you!” ex:  compliment – “you have a beautiful home,” response – “why, thank you!” vs. “oh, it’s a mess, i really need to clean it, do that one dish in the sink, ramble, ramble, ramble.”

2) learn to accept gifts – this includes allowing someone to pick up a check at lunch or dinner when they offer. i have an employee who has managed to pay the tab every time i’ve taken her out. it’s embarrassing to me, and discourages me from meeting her over a nice lunch instead of in the stuffy offices neither of us work in very often. learn to accept gifts and favors without guilt, without feeling like you now “owe” the giver something equivalent in value or effort. most of us know how to give without expecting anything in return. we also know it feels good. give friends and strangers a chance to feel good. again, a heartfelt, “well, thank you!” will do. an old fashioned thank you card is a nice touch…but these days, an email or any expression of gratitude will typically be enough to kick start a karma bus of goodness for you.

3) learn to accept and even ask for help from well-meaning, gentle souls. it might be a new boyfriend with moving muscles, a stranger in a grocery store parking lot (a well-lit and populated parking lot), a neighbor who spots a way to help you out, new friends with paint supplies, old friends with some spare change to lend to a dependable friend in need, or friends and family who want to support you when you struggle with emotional or physical health.

giving these things, compliments, gifts and help, makes people feel good. the act of giving freely feeds the Universal energies of generosity, Love and compassion. but to give freely, one needs a recipient. don’t just be a “giver,” it’s a subtle form of control if you give and never allow someone to give back. it’s a form of underminement, and it lacks the vulnerability, intimacy, and equality that comes from reciprocity. remember to open your heart and set aside your independence sometimes to actively “receive.” it’s ok and your gratitude is only the first gift you send back to the giver. Universal Love and joy will track them down and deliver more. and of course, never be a “taker.” we all know a few of them, and they dress themselves quite differently than “receivers.”

we are a generous and social species, especially when we let our best energy flow freely. open yourself to that energy and you will find myriad and effortless ways to give and receive that make the world (your world) spin a little more smoothly.

gratitude for a stateside attitude

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i have a lot of disparate thoughts this morning, hard to gather and sort in time for an early post. i awoke from a decent night’s sleep for a change…though still chock full of imagery and dream decisions…to a monday of pets gone wild, ants on the warpath and a procrastinator’s army of tasks to accomplish. my thoughts remind me of these ants, marching single file, breaking apart in a chaotic looking mission meant to culminate in wiggly piles of hunger on every trace of sugar or tiny food bit. it occurs to me now that the bounce in my step this morning may just be ants in my pants.

some of my disparate thoughts land uncomfortably on news items from the weekend. we’ve been at war, a real war with guns and helicopters in place of my metaphorical war on ants and racing thoughts. this morning i’m remembering 30 troops we lost to a combination of guns and helicopters, and the news that i now know another young widow. for all my losses and heartaches, the empathy i feel toward the widows i know….acquaintances, all of them…makes me ever more grateful that i’m here to complain about ants and dog poop, and that my little daughter has her father still, even if the family tree has grown a bit crooked.

i have a heart full of prayers this morning, both for our troops in the sand and all of the family members left behind to worry and fret, and sometimes, to grieve. it’s hard to understand all of this death and destruction and glean real purpose from the battles and mistakes of the last decade. our own terror has faded, if only slightly, since 2001 when all of our hearts began beating wildly on a crisp and beautiful september morning. it was horrific. and almost ten years ago. the loss this weekend reminds me that many of the people we fight with and for have lived whole lives with that kind of terror in their hearts every day…so much that they grow numb and hard, confused and angry. in many hot spots in the middle east, widows and childless parents are more common than long marriages and intact families, mortars more common than flowers.

we have it so good we’ve forgotten how hard some have to work just to stay alive. we complain about cell phone service in air-conditioned office buildings, crowded mass transit parking lots and platforms, wait times or language barriers on customer service calls, drivers who don’t use blinkers (ahem), and all of those inconsiderate people who wreck their cars during rush hour. i wake up mortified at the idea of using stop-gap neurotoxins on my ant invasion, while people halfway around the world keep masks on hand in fear of the neurotoxins of war. it’s so easy to feel small on this planet, for troubles to feel small, especially for those of us stateside, especially for those exposed at one time or another to the third world or real revolution. for the rest of us, with couches and cable, it’s easy to get lost in our daily struggles. it’s easy to forget to be grateful. it’s easy to spew vitriol about unfairness and entitlements. the truth is, we are entitled to keep breathing, as long as we meet our needs for survival and that’s about it.

for the rest of the gifts i take for granted most days, i feel my gratitude today. for the love and support of friends, for a monday full of mundane responsibilities and for the healthy, happy child whom i can hear breathing softly through the baby monitor thanks to dependable power lines and a cheap transmitter. i’m grateful for the opportunity to be my outrageous self, in a country of outrageous selves, some who leave you outraged, some who leave you inspired, and some who have absorbed unimaginable grief with a sense of duty and a lot of faith.

do you feel grateful today? for having 10 minutes to read someone’s blog as a latte slips down your throat? for having a life to live? for the love of your friends and family? for getting stuck in traffic on a smooth, 4-lane highway? for the opportunity to accumulate bills and struggle to pay them? if you’ve forgotten for a moment, take a deep breath and thank your higher power for the comforts you enjoy and even the challenges you face. it will make the comforts more comforting and the challenges less challenging.  it’s certainly working for me this morning.