I won't lie to you, there are days where I get dark and twisty... shocking I know...even in sunny LA 'the sadness'* can take hold and drag you down to the watery grave your day never saw coming (not sure why it has to be watery, but it sounded good, you know, for dramatic effect).
The other day I was having a particularly rough go of it. I couldn't even talk... seriously... I went mute, like Maya Angelou (too far?). The funny thing was, just a few hours earlier Drew and I had been talking about how we want to work towards changing the tone of our daily lives because " Gratitude is closely related to happiness (people who feel gratitude on a regular basis self-report being happier)"**. We waxed on and on about how we weren't going to complain, how we were going to let go of the drama, breath through the stress, and learn to view the world through a more grateful lens (I think people who regularly wear 'beer goggles' can back me up on this... sometimes life just requires the appropriate eye wear).
So, when I felt the all too familiar feeling of 'the sadness' creeping in, I became despondent... How could this be? I wanted to change my lenses not break them! To which my brain said, "to hell with lens, what do you need to see for? Get a guide dog, it will be simpler." to which I said... "Perfect! Sounds like a plan" which is when I found myself mute and abandoning all hope (kidding... I'm not THAT depressed guys... I just went to have a little processing time by myself) I went out to the porch and read a little (or a lot) of Mindy Kalings book which made me feel about a million times happier... I was working toward changing my lens if you will.
Once I felt a little less miserable, I decided it would be a good idea to do a little yoga, you know, for soul cleansing. I found a video I had never done before (which is a miracle because I am obsessed with online yoga videos) and I kid you not, the first words out of the hippie chic instructors mouth were something like this, "...train your mind, having an attitude of gratitude. So when difficulties arise and circumstances bring us down, we can turn our hearts and minds to a feeling of gratitude, which can dictate how comfortable we can be which directly affects how happy we choose our lives to be." Um hi conviction, I'm Kelsey, nice to meet you.
As I laid there on the mat I felt a flood of guilt and frustration... how could I be so petty? All of the things 'bringing me down' were entirely out of my control. The only thing I could control (of course) was how I reacted to them (yes, dad, I know you have been telling me that "the only thing you can control in life is your attitude" since I was like five... but sometimes it takes a couple decades to sink in... also that makes me feel really old). How I was feeling was a 'state of mind' and I could (conceivably) change that.
I recently read an article in which Geoffrey James states that-
"People who approach life with a sense of gratitude are constantly aware of what’s wonderful in their life. Because they enjoy the fruits of their successes, they seek out more success. And when things don’t go as planned, people who are grateful can put failure into perspective."
Ah perspective, the holy grail of life lenses. A sweet morsel of wisdom so perfect you will want to hold it in your mouth forever; Tollhouse has nothing on this guy.
Are we grateful for the lives we lead? Am I?
Here is my challenge- for one week, write out something you are grateful for every day. If you make it through that week, go to two, and so on, until you reach a month. If you don't remember ever day that is ok, it is a practice, an exercise for your mind; training yourself to have a more positive perspective.
Today I am grateful for you. That you take the time to read this, that you consider my words worthy of your time. Thank you, you mean the world to me.
With deep love and a grateful heart.
*'the sadness' that sinking feeling when you find yourself down for seemingly no reason, or for reasons out of your control.
** quote from a great article on Forbes.com about gratefulness and success.