Day, um, Five: Cultivate Your Gratitude

“Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it,
But we hae meat and we can eat,
And sae the Lord be thankit.”
Robert Burns

Day 5: Cultivate your Gratitude

Right now, I’m grateful that I can take over a week off of something and no one shouts at me or takes away my paycheck. So – After a while of not keeping up with this, my house guests are gone and life has returned to normal. As normal as it gets, anyway.

I do feel like there should be some sort of consequence for flaking out of the Manject though, so at the end of the thirty days I will take on three extra tasks – either suggested by readers or random things I find. I’ll start a new thread for that when it’s time – Day 29, or so – for now, I want to get back to gratitude:

Part One: Make a List

It would be pretty easy to make a generic list (I’m grateful for my family, friends, partner, etc) but I’m going to try to go more specific, as the Manject says: “remember gratitude will really work its magic in your life when you start taking notice of the great layers of pleasure present in everyday things. “ So I’m not going to talk about people until step #2; instead I will focus on things which make my day-to-day life a little (or a lot) better.

Here we go. I am grateful for:

1 – My dog, who forces me out of the house every day no matter the weather and reminds me that rain and snow are not things that will kill me (in the course of a walk, anyway).

2 – Whoever invented Sigg water bottles. Frickin’ brilliant.

3 – Burlesque dance. It makes the world a better place with it’s irrelevant silliness.

4 – The little fireplace in my house. Mmmm, fireplace.

5 – Whoever invented espresso, which is the only way I can drink coffee. (Why is that? Anyone? Anyone? Buhler?)

6 – A buddy-community online of writers to whom I can ask questions like “Would you flinch if I used aluminum silicate?”

7 – How great rooms look in my house when I have painted over the puce-green put there by the former occupants with RED.

8 – My backyard. I have a backyard! How lucky am I?

9 – My boyfriend’s job, which allows me to go to the doctor and dentist and gym.

10 – My bike. It’s shiny and red and goes super fast!

Task 2 is to thank individual people. I’m going to do that by letter (Handwritten! In my crappy five-year-old printing!) so I’m not going to spoil it by putting them down here.

Task 3, I’m adding myself. Tina Fey wrote this book, and I just finished reading it again. In it, she suggests that all women should make a list of things they love about their bodies. So here we go – eating money – I’m going to put this on the bloody blog.  Yup. Right now.

*** Sorry for the oddness of the list. I wrote this in Word a few days ago, and it’s being pissy, and I can’t be half-assed to fix it.

  1. My hair. I have bleached the living shit out of this stuff, sometimes quite literally: when I was sixteen I put javex in my shampoo. You know. Just to see. It’s was so dirty and dry when I was travelling once that when I tried to put it back in a ponytail, it broke off. Not a few strands. A big hunk of it. My head looked lopsided for a month. But you know, it still grows, and I’m proud of it. Way to go, hair. I’ll keep trying to kill you; you keep thwarting me at every turn.
  2. My hands. My fingers are short and stubby and weirdly knobbly, and my fingernails look…erm…like someone bites them… But when I was little and complained to my grandmother she said, very seriously, that I had “The hands of someone who can work,” and that I should be proud of them. And I am.
  3. My freakish strength. I should not be as strong as I am; I know this. I’m grateful for whatever genetic blessing is happening here.
  4. My toes. Each toe, in descending order from the Biggest Of Toes, is a little smaller than the one beside it. I’m glad. They look all tidy, and fit well in shoes.
  5. My shoulders, which are wide and strong, like my Grandmother’s – the other one – were. Shoulder pads? We don’t need no stinkin’ shoulder pads! (However, the nineties would have suuuuuucked if I’d been old enough to feel any sort of fashion obligation. Wait, I’ve never been that old…)
  6. My knees. In order from right to left, my knees are covered in:

    a. Rollerblading scars from when I tried to learn on a hill called ‘Mountain Highway’. In retrospect, I should have known.
    b. A scar from where I broke my leg, falling off a cliff while playing glow-in-the-dark capture the flag on a women’s camping weekend
    c. The scar from stepping off my dad’s motorcycle and falling onto the exhaust pipe (Yes! I am graceful)
    d. Little dotted white scars from being stung by a sea anemone while diving in the Phillipines
    e. A scar from getting twisted up in a hammock and falling on my ass when a monkey jumped at me in Costa Rica.

And they’re still there, all knee-shaped and everything? Aren’t they amazing? Some of my favorite memories are lodged in the scars on my knees.

7. My eyes. They’re somewhere between the shade of blue of everyone in my family, but still uniquely mine.

8. My butt, because it doesn’t know any dance moves, but still likes to shimmy.

9. My legs, because they have never failed to carry me anywhere I want to go, regardless of how steep the incline – no small feat, in BC.

10. My flexibility, which falls under the same category as my strength, in that I have no idea why it is this way. I do some yoga here and there, but I think I’ll attribute this to my mother – so Mom – thanks for the bendiness. J

That’s gratitude for ya. I’d highly recommend the lists, as they make us think, and the letters, which have made me REALLY aware of what I’ve been given by the people in my life.

 

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6 thoughts on “Day, um, Five: Cultivate Your Gratitude

  1. Just a quick comment on a couple of things … I got big chills when I read the Robbie Burns prayer … do you possibly remember your Grandpa T. saying this? I heard it a million times, but I know you didn’t, so anyway, it was very nice to see that auld prayer, hinny. 🙂
    And why is “living shit” such a good expression, I’m wondering … you know, it makes absolutely no sense: I won’t go into detail there, it’s obvious, but shaking or bleaching or scaring or whatever, the living shit outta something is still just so effective in getting the point across. Just a muse. I love this post and you’re right, gratitude keeps everything in proper perspective!

    • Of course I remember! I didn’t know it was Burns, actually; so I googled the first line to find it. But yeah, I hear it in his voice, in my head. Once again, Robbie Burns and Grandpa T capture the essence of something in a few, weird words.

  2. Great list – I’ve made a few, and suggested it to others as well. I always include socks on my list, because really, how much would it suck to have no socks? It would suck.

    Yay for Gratitude.

    ps – I think dying without scars counts as a failed attempt at living

    • Eeeenteresting. I don’t like socks, actually, but given where I live it does seem important to have the little foot-traps. Matching socks are miracles.

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