14 December 2008

conscious gratitude

I wish there were a(n easy) way, beyond the momentary/fleeting thoughts for most of us, to live in appreciation and understanding (deeply, beyond the intellectual acknowledgment) of what matters, what's serious and also how lucky we are. I say I get it/appreciate, but it's hard to really feel it continuously & I get caught up in the petty annoyances.
Some beginning of life examples: a baby is born premature and in the NICU, having blood transfusions and tubes everywhere. A slow but hopeful road, yet overwhelming to the parents, who never imagined they would be home for weeks without their baby. Yet...even if they had gone home all together, full term, they would still be overwhelmed, as every new parent inevitably is, at least at some point. Same with having a second baby - only then do you realize how easy you had it, comparatively, when you only had the one. And I imagine many of us don't think much of our health/mortality unless we feel like something could be wrong.

Why is it that we are rarely able to count our lucky stars unless something really unlucky gets our attention? I guess because we are just responding to whatever challenges face us, no matter how big or petty. . It's like you can't know, really know it in a life-changing way, until you see it from a new vantage point? But how to jump to & stay in that place of knowing and appreciating...that's the challenge.

So how do you not sweat the small stuff? How do you maintain gratitude and awareness of your blessings?


Elizabeth Gallo said...

WOW! This post really speaks to me, especially at this time of year, especially in light of the two births I experienced in the last two years. As overwhelmed as I am with two under two, (and I had no idea how overwhelmed that would be, by the way) just thinking about my daughters' births and lives thus far makes me feel blessed, grateful, and joyous. I've been thinking a lot about the idea of the magic of this season and how to show my children that it is NOT about the big pile of gifts they might get. I think it comes down to a sense of blessing, a sense of gratitude, a sense of how lucky we are compared to so many others, and a desire to participate in something larger than ourselves...

Hannah said...

My 11 month old son really keeps me in the moment, and just constantly grateful! He is so funny, quirky, relentlessly alive...it's impossible to stay annoyed at anything, when 5 seconds later I'm cracking up at the ridiculous and fantastic mess he's gotten himself into!

Even now, going on day 5 of the most awful stomach bug, he's still the brightest of lights. Driving me crazy by refusing to drink fluids, but having a ball smearing jello all over himself and me. Thoroughly grossing me out with diaper upon diaper of the most atrocious diarrhea, but grinning up at me and clucking his tongue (new trick!).

He won't let me put him down, which gets so exhausting. But he holds my hand, and puts his head on my shoulder. Which makes my whole world melt.

This baby has made me such a better person. I just love my life so much more, and everyone around me gets sucked into that lovefest. I love everyone more!

Sarah said...

Being in the moment with myself, focusing OUTWARD, helps me with conscious gratitude. It takes different things, though... sometimes playing with my daughter does it; other times it's writing, listening to music, watching a movie, walking down a city street, being under the tattoo needle, making a good human connection. I guess, for me, it's all about connecting with the best of everything out there to show me how amazing + wonderful this life (and I) can be! And then everything else just slides away... for a time, at least. :)