Needing the Practice

treelabyrinth
The tree at the center of the labyrinth. Camp Hebron.

Today is one of the days that I really need to do the gratitude work.  I know this because it was hard to make the list today. I’m not falling apart and I am not depressed. I’m just huffy and grumpy and a little stressed out. When I go inside myself to seek the things that I am grateful about, and all I can find is little orts of shame and grumbliness, then I know I need to breathe into it.

I used to walk away from those uncomfortable feelings: “I shouldn’t be feeling shame. Brene Brown says that it is unhelpful! I don’t like grouchy people. Negativity brings us all down.” But they’re there. If I growl at them and walk away, they always grow.

So I’ll sit down a while with them, roll out a few marbles of gratitude that I find tucked in my pockets, and play a little while, see what happens.

As my wise mother tells me: “It doesn’t have to be either/or. It can be both/and.” I don’t have to be a calm and grateful person OR a grouchy bear. This morning, both apply. At least the grateful bit can help to tame the grouchy bear so she doesn’t go around mauling people.

Gratitude List:
1. Dragonflies. I don’t think I am being too whimsical when I say that I think they like to people watch.
2. Stroopies: Perfect little waffle snack with a sweet caramel center. A local company with a mission to hire refugees. May they grow and thrive.
3. Getting to try again. This one is a little shame-based, perhaps. I brought a child to tears last night with my program to get the homework and music practice done. I was a bit of a bully, even if I was trying to be friendly about it. I think he forgives me. I treated him like a problem to be solved. We’ll figure it out. We’ll try again, and I will go in next time with more self-awareness and compassion.
4. Growing into the roles.
5. Reaching the little goals.

May we walk in Beauty!

I am safe. It’s only change.

Gratitude List:
1. This song I found in my “stack of random papers,” one that I remember Tabea teaching me a few years ago: “Doors closing, doors opening.  Doors closing, doors I’m opening.  I am safe. It’s only change. I am safe.  It’s only change.”
2. In all  of my yesterday-celebration of teeny-tinies, I didn’t mention the monarch caterpillar on the bottom of a milkweed leaf, so small it was almost still just a dream.  But I think I felt it looking at me, asking what I am doing to make the world safe.
3. Also, the teeny-tiny snails that Joss kept stopping to pick up and place at the side of the trails so no one would step on them.
4. Pie!  Well, see, there were leftovers.  And tomorrow, still, there will be more pie leftover.  And this makes me happy.
5. This practice.  Sometimes I need it more than others.  Some days are sad or morose, some are angry or confused.  Often, my days are satisfying and comfortable, or busy but pleasant.  Today was a grumpy sort of day.  I grouched at and interfered with my children.  I made commands and demands.  I was not the most pleasant person to live with.  Not mean or shamefully spiteful.  Just a grouch.  Finding five things on a grouchy day is a challenge.  Fortunately, I had a little overflow from yesterday in #2 an #3.

Thank you for listening.  May we walk in Beauty!