I have been thinking a lot about gratitude lately. I used to take some quiet time on a regular basis to be still and catalog my blessings…reveling in thankfulness for things like health and friends. I don't do that as much in recent times - normally because I am too pissed off with life :) ... but I'm making a conscious effort to be more centered in this way. When I am more grateful I tend to be less selfish, and this has to be a good thing, right?
On my long run yesterday (always my purest thinking) I had a mindbender of a thought about gratitude. What if (and this is a big if) I could wrap my head around being thankful for things that don’t normally fall into the blessing category. Bear with me. I mean being specifically thankful for the things that seemingly did not go right at all.
For example, an idea or a relationship that ‘failed.’ A goal that was not met. An injury. An illness. Loneliness. Delays. Embarrassments. Struggles. Weaknesses. Addictions. Depression. Setbacks of every kind and every degree.
These types of things do not typically make it onto my gratitude radar. These things are total flops! Why should we think about them as gratitude? Why should we consider them at all?
My mindbender came along these lines, at about mile 10, and it had to do with opening my mind (and my heart) to consider that every ‘no’ makes room for an unexpected ‘yes.’ Every delay fortifies our patience and allows for time to prepare and mature. Every physical setback forces us to rest and recover, building strength in other ways that perhaps wouldn't have gotten the attention otherwise. Every bout of loneliness or depression reminds us to love lavishly when we are able. Every embarrassment keeps our sense of humor intact. Every gaping hole of loss could be a window.
Perhaps every failure is not really a failure at all, but a blessing in suspicious packaging.
So for all these things, the obviously good and the not so obvious, I am going to try to be more thankful, more aware. I’m going to slow down and think. I’m going to appreciate the little things…the gestures, sentiments and details often overlooked. I’m going to savor what I eat and the people I am eating with (ok, I always savor what I eat - let's get real here). I'm going to call friends at random just to tell him or her that I love them.
And this will go on for a few days... and I'll feel refreshed and as though my soul has been recharged... but don't worry... the snarky and bitter Carole is soon to return. Someone will piss me off. Some idiot will yet again not appreciate my tremendous quality, my across-the-board talents, how amazing I am. I'll hold the door open for someone without them even acknowledging I did, or I'll cheerfully say "Good Morning!" to a stranger and they'll ignore me. Or someone will cut me off on the highway. Or someone will take the last box of Fruity Pebbles at the grocery store and not even care when I tearfully PLEAD that I must have them!! The jackasses. All of them.
Screw this gratitude shit. Gratitude can bite my ass.
(Phew - she's BACK!)
We now return to our regularly scheduled program.