We all know the power of a gratitude list. They pick you up when you are down, they give you a sense of accomplishment, and because of these things we have all written a million of them (and if you haven't I highly suggest you do). I mean, gratitude lists affirm who you are, what you are doing, how you live...they are a verbal life vests keeping you afloat when hurricane 'Frank is having a bad day' or 'tropical storm depression' knocks you out of your comfy boat- the SS Day-to-Day.
I am curious... what is on your gratitude list? Is it the big ticket items- your job, your house, your bank roll? Or is it the little things? The things that, frankly, often get taken for granted.
I ask out of my own conviction.
Yesterday Drew and I were driving to a coffee shop on the other side of town for the umpteenth time since moving to New Orleans. It is eye opening how different this city is. When you drive across town here you see a lot of life, at every income level. In the span of five minutes you will drive from a nice neighborhood, through a rough neighborhood, the business part of town and the wealthy part of town, with nothing but neutral ground between them. But, as with most other things in life, you become accustomed to this, it becomes normal.
As we crossed Canal on Broad street I looked out the window and saw a man in a wheelchair. Seeing someone in a wheelchair often tugs at your heart strings but usually you can accept the fact that their reality is different and move on. But this man made my heart ache. It wan't the fact that he was down on his luck, it wasn't the fact that his clothes had seen better days, it was the fact that, on top of all he had stacked against him, he was also missing a leg. He, literally, can't walk even if he wanted to and I walk without so much as a second thought, which all of a sudden seemed insane or foolish.
I am so grateful that, even in my bodies imperfection, I can walk, talk, read, write, breath, laugh, dance, love, hurt, and feel. I am grateful that I can get up each morning and do yoga, even when I don't feel like it. I am grateful that I have food on my table, even though I can't eat everything, I can eat so many things. I am grateful for my husband, he is a really good man. I am thankful for this move to New Orleans.
As I thought about all the things I take for granted I also started thinking about how we, as people, make excuses CONSTANTLY.
"I'm too old" "I'm not smart enough" "I don't know how to do that" "Why even try?" etc. etc. etc.
Fact- Iris Apfel is 95 years young and still creating, still working, STILL being fabulous every day. Do you think she goes around saying she is too old? NO. She says, I'm old but I still have breath in my lungs and creativity in my heart, so I am going to keep going!
Fact- You can learn from anything! I am 29 and recently re-enrolled in courses on a subject I (technically) know nothing about, but I am so excited to learn.
Fact- With practice you can learn anything... you many not be good at it but you can still learn.
Why try? WHY NOT!
Maybe all the Tony Robbins talks Drew plays in the car have leached their way into my brain. Maybe I am just ready to live a better life. A more full life. A life less hindered by excuses. A life full of gratitude for the big AND the small.
What is keeping you from being grateful? What keeps you from doing things? How can you get one inch closer to change? What small thing can you be grateful for today? What can you be grateful for tomorrow? Who knows you may start a chain reaction that will lead to change and positivity down the road.
Light and delight.