|San Miguel Sunset|
Learning to be thankful for the moment is an ongoing practice. Sometimes gratitude comes easy, wells up unstoppable. When the day is beautiful and things are going well I don't have to work too hard to be thankful. It's when things are challenging, when I'm battling frustration or disappointment, that I have to make an effort. Today I found my thoughts drifting to sometime in the future. Some of that, of course, is necessary. We have to make decisions ahead of time if we're going to do certain things down the road. There are plans and preparations to be made. But I tend to wander to a mythical future sometimes, one where I'm chronically joyful, my kids are ridiculously obedient, where we're all the picture of health and happiness. And that's where I have to pull myself back to this moment, today, right here, right now. Like it or not, it's the only one I've been given in which to live. Sometimes I challenge a complaining child to tell me some things they're thankful for. If they are too stuck in the dark hole of the moment I help them find their way out. Sometimes I need to do the same. I need to look around me with eyes and heart wide open and focus on all the blessings, the goodness, the love that is flowing.
So instead of dwelling on the parts of this day that were hard, I'm working on giving thanks. (And seeing clearly how doing this throughout the day would have been helpful.) Here are a few things I can think of:
- Waking up early enough to see the golden sun come up from behind the hills. (That was the good part about kids being up at 6!)
- Being in a comfortable and special place.
- Successfully baking cupcakes in my little gas oven. (The one that bakes about 75 degrees off and tends to burn on the bottom.)
- Really yummy cauliflower soup, and that the kids all ate it. (They dislike soup. I don't understand how one (or two or three) can dislike an entire category of food like that.)
- That the election is finally over, and in a few days people will stop talking about it.
- That my hope doesn't rest on a man, or a political party, or in a country.
- Dinner made and hosted by my cousin and his wife and their two darling kids. Good food, laughter, and conversation.
- Getting to take a shower. Sometimes it's the little things....
- Kids settling down to sleep quickly.
- And this moment, Erik on one side of me, reading, hearing Pearl breathing in her little bed on the floor next to me, the stillness of the night, a warm rice bag on the feet, sleep ahead of me.