"Do the best you can with what you know, and when you know better, do better." Maya Angelou said that, and it is a way of thinking that rings true for me. It is a way to be kind to myself for not always making the best choices in the days when I don't know better. I recently remembered, after some weeks of struggling harder than I needed to, that I do know better.
I finally remembered, that for over twenty years, I have made a purposeful daily practice of gratitude. I started way back by listing ten things that I was grateful for at night, and then thinking up ten more right before closing my eyes on the day.
It used to be a challenge.
With practice, it became easy. It became fun! Even in the face of grief, fear, and disappointment, I learned to identify multitudes of things to be grateful for every day. It has been life changing.
Sometimes I am grateful for big things like getting a special gig, or writing a new song, or connecting deeply with someone. More often, it is gratitude for things as simple as a deep breath, the way my cat looks sleeping belly-up in a sunbeam, or the way it feels to take my bra off when I get home at the end of a day. If I allow myself to be present in the moment, there is always a gift in it. It is a powerful thing.
Here are some of mine for today:
- My apartment smells like garlic and ginger because I cooked a really good dinner! (and it may soon smell like chocolate chip cookies)
- My body carried me everywhere I needed to go today, even up and down stairs with heavy bags
- I have a deep connection with the wonderful woman with Alzheimer's that I spend a lot of time with, and I know I help her to feel safe, and to have some fun
- I was thrilled and surprised yesterday morning by Sleepy Hollow, on WXPN, playing one of my songs
- I finally have deep blue jeans that fit
- I have been offered several wonderful opportunities to connect with people through my music
- I reopened my blog today, after being away from it for a long while
- I feel hopeful.
I hope you can identify things in your life to be grateful for each day. If not, please take a deep breath, and start with that...
(I would love to hear what you are grateful for in the comments below.)
My best to you...
Denise, the grateful