Thursday, November 17, 2011


Last year I wrote an entry around Thanksgiving about being grateful. As I am sitting at my computer thinking about what to write this week, I find myself continually being drawn back to that post. Probably it's because this is that gracious time of year but also because recently I have been thinking a lot about being grateful. It's so easy in the hustle and bustle of our lives to forget how lucky we actually are. There's traffic and money woes, job stresses and physical pain, there's emotional stress and lack of sleep and all of it mixed together can create a v ungrateful mood. Unfortunately that's the easy road. It take a little more effort, but reminding ourselves how lucky we are, is the high road. And trust me, it pays off to be positive. For the past few weeks I have been keeping a "gratitude journal". It's a diary of things I am thankful for. It could be a notepad, your phone or a voice memo but I prefer the old pen and paper route.
Every morning after I've woken up and had my coffee, I open the diary and write 3-5 things I am grateful for. It has the benefit of reminding me how lucky I am and it puts those things in the forefront of my mind thereby preparing me for a blissfully gracious day. Even if you feel like there is nothing t be grateful for, give it a try, you will find something I promise. Somedays all I feel grateful for are sleep and the hot water in the shower but that's ok. You don't have to wake up every day and scream to the heavens how lucky you are to be alive. I mean, it would rock if you did that but somedays, hot water is all I can muster. I highly recommend trying out the gratitude journal this week, I mean it is after all Thanksgiving next Thursday and isn't that why we get together? To celebrate with friends, family and strangers how absolutely wonderfully lucky we all are to be alive.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Gardener

Every morning (or rather every morning I am not a madman rushing around trying to get my overslept ass out the door) I read a daily excerpt from a book called, "Simple Abundance". My sister in law turned me onto this book earlier this year and I have been grateful ever since. Sarah Ban Breathnach's book has a page for every day of the year loaded with tidings of simplicity, calm, serenity and peace. Often she is so right on in her knowledge of exactly what I need to read about that I would swear she was writing it solely for me. Sometimes the entries are a little sappy or religious or just not my thing but most of the time they have the effect of turning my attention away from the stresses of daily life and upon the beauty and abundance of simple things.

I had just such an experience this Tuesday, the 1st of November. I have been in a bit of a mood for some weeks now, fretting about the commute, the traffic, my aching body, my isolation from loved ones (I moved to the South Bay Area) and the general physical ailments that come from lack of sleep and excess of coping mechanisms. I have been neglecting my daily inspirations but felt compelled this Tuesday to pick up the book. The story I read was perfect for the moment and I would like to share it with all of you. Sadly I cannot find it anywhere on line and I don't have the book currently in front of me so I am paraphrasing/rewriting it.

There once was a queen who lived in a village far, far away. (that's how all the great stories start) Unfortunately she was very sad and she had no idea why. She had everything in the world she could ever need or want. She had a beautiful kingdom, an adoring king, a loving family and all the mead she could possibly drink yet for some strange reason she was v sad. Some days she would cry for no apparent reason and other days she would wake up in a mood so fierce she was scared of herself in the mirror. On days such as these it was wise to stay away from her.
The queen knew that her sadness was unwarranted and so she sought out any and all means to be rid of this ailment. She called doctors and psychics, she read poetry and watched jesters, she painted on a face of happiness and hoped it would just appear but alas nothing helped. She sent out a kingdom wide message to all her subjects, "Please, anyone who can help the queen to regain her happiness will be highly rewarded". Men and women flocked from villages near and far to try and entertain the queen but still nothing worked. The queen feeling very dejected and even more upset leapt from her throne and ran out to her gardens to try and find solace from her own selfish suffering.
While walking amidst the trees she came upon her gardener who said to her, "Your majesty, why must you try to undo your sadness. Look upon these trees. Their leaves are falling, their color changing, their flowers dying. Look at the ground, the grass is turning icy and the roses are but mere stems. Mother earth is changing and it is normal to mourn her change. Even if you look forward to the colors of autumn, you must first say goodbye to the colors of spring.

But do not fret, for this too shall pass.