Practicing Gratitude

I’ve been having a really hard time over the last weeks, months…long period of time.  It started gradually. I think maybe it began after I got back from SF in fall 2011, so it’s been creeping up for a while.  Insidious, like alcoholism.  I stopped swimming for a long time.  I don’t know why.  Then we joined the gym and that was good, but then my shoulder started acting up, but it started to get better, then I hurt it again, and then my ankle acted up, and here we are.  That’s a very simplistic and compressed timeline, but sort of a capsule of physical stuff going on.  During that time, I’ve really tried to watch what I’ve eaten and I think I’ve been fairly successful because I put on a pair of slacks the other day that I wore when I was in the law office, which I left in late 2006 and they fit the same.  I’m trying to be more aware of when and how much I eat, and why. That’s an ongoing battle and probably always will be.  I look at E, who has, according to his last doctor visit, a BMI of 18%, long, lean, whipcord slim and nothing but muscle, bone and sinew, and wonder, what on EARTH could that feel like?  I will never know, that’s for sure. 

I’ve also been dealing with (or not dealing with, according to G) a terrible sense of general malaise/ennui.  Much of the time, I just have no energy.  Right now, I’m chalking it up to the heat (although at the moment it is a perfect 64 degrees and I feel great, which is why I’m blogging).  I’ve stopped doing things.  Rode my bike this weekend for the first time in ages.  Haven’t swum. Haven’t really walked, except around the park. I actually got a call this week from my old t’ai chi teacher (I had been thinking about her) asking how we were doing (via message) and letting me know she’s teaching another class on Thursdays that might be about where we left off in private lessons so long ago. Before Alcatraz.  Wow.  I don’t know why this is happening.  I can attribute some of it to my financial situation and the evil of comparison.  Comparing myself to people who make way more money, who made better career choices, who like what they do better, who have more financial freedom to travel, to play, etc.  But that’s not all of it.  Still trying to figure it out.  Hormonal? Could be, but I despise that catch all, “Oh, it’s just your hormones.” Like you can’t really FEEL anything unless it’s related to your period or lack thereof.

I finally broke down and did a Tarot reading for myself the other day, another thing that I quit doing.  Of course, it was gut-wrenchingly spot on. So much so that I think I’ll write it up and post it here. When I get around to it. If I do. See? That’s just how I feel all the time. 

This is really taking a toll on our relationship.  Not that it’s all me, it isn’t.  G seems to have become SO rigid, SO negative, SO judgmental over this same time. Everything she looks at seems to be WRONG.  She doesn’t see it that way, of course, but we can’t even ride down the street without her going on about trash, litter, someone’s leaves, a car up on blocks, kids playing in the street who might get hit, the paint being chipped on the car (Oh, my dear GOD), whatever.  She doesn’t see it as negative, just “noticing.”  She notices everything.  I, apparently, notice nothing. We go outside in the yard and I’m watching the hummingbirds and butterflies; she’s got her nose out for drug deals and child molesters in the park across the street.  I’m not Pollyanna.  I know that stuff goes on.  Hell, I’ve stood in the window and taken pictures of it and sent them to the cops.  But that’s NOT what I want to focus on.  The dichotomy of our natures seems to be getting larger and larger and it’s getting harder and harder to be who I am and who I want to be with her.  She seems to feel the same way.  I’m not exactly sure how to get it back.  Maybe we can’t.  Maybe we’re not supposed to.  Of course, tossing E in the picture hasn’t helped–or maybe it IS helping, I don’t know.  But his presence didn’t cause this, just caused it to come clear, the way those last straws so often do. This might be a good thing.

I got up really early this morning (4 am), paid my bills.  Hello paycheck, good-bye paycheck. Worked for an hour–maybe bigger paycheck next time.  Then I went upstairs, made coffee and breakfast–tofu veggie scramble.  Yes, dear God, I’ve descended to tofu for breakfast.  But hey, it’s pretty good and the squash has to go somewhere, right?

I was thinking about gratitude as I sat on the porch with incense burning to ward off the mosquitoes.  I suddenly realized I should be grateful for all this.  It’s pushing me somewhere.  I’m not sure just where yet, but there’s an underlying purpose to it.  If I can let go of the angst of it and just feel it, then I know (past experience) that I will come out on the other side and my compass will re-engage. 

So I’m going to practice. Practice gratitude. Practice saying thank you.  Last week in our parenting classes, we talked about praise.  We were supposed to praise someone twice a day for the week until the next class.  I think I did, but I don’t feel like I got any praise.  That’s okay.  I can be grateful for not feeling praised.  Maybe I should praise myself.  Maybe that’s part of the problem. If I don’t feel like I deserve praise, why should anyone give me praise? 

I don’t think we’re going to fall apart, and I’m grateful for that. I think we both have enough invested and there’s still a lot of love and caring.  Maybe it’s taken nearly 11 years for the honeymoon to wear off.  If so, that’s a LOT to be grateful for.  So, I’m going upstairs now and have coffee with her and tell her about my plan.  I’m grateful to be able to do that.

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4 thoughts on “Practicing Gratitude

  1. Thank you for sharing.
    I am about 26 yrs clean/sober through some sort of miracle. I attend NA/AA and try to stay on a healthy physical, emotional, spiritual course. It is hard.
    I see you pursuing essentially the same.
    Gratitude pays some huge dividends, for me. It may be one of the easiest tool for me to use. (Exercise also comes easily for me.)
    I find diet very difficult. For spirituality, I just try to fake it and admit that along with being a doubting Thomas, I am God’s bad child. But, I will pray my ass off, whenever there is a jam.
    Thanks again, for a thought provoking post.

  2. Hey GG,

    You just described my relationship. The part about her ‘noticing’ everything and putting a negative spin on every fucking thing she sees… yeah. That’s my partner. Always looking to blame someone. Always thinking the worst. Always with the ‘shoulda done this, shoulda done that’. Always finding fault. Always pointing the finger. We can’t walk to the store without a running commentary about how this neighbor needs to weed their yard, that neighbor needs to park facing the other way, those kids are up to no good, what is that guy doing in our neighborhood. It is fucking exhausting. Sometimes I tell her so. Sometimes I am just too tired of it to argue.

    The other thing that really rings true for me is the malaise, the ennui. I’ve been in a funk for months. My enjoyment of life has dwindled. I can point to external sources, like work, like my mother dying, like the depressing state of the world… but it’s probably more accurate to look inward. I’ve been trying to do that more. Unfortunately, I don’t have much time for reflection.

    I don’t know what else to say, but I think you may be on the right course with the gratitude. I need to shift my focus in that direction as well… see what difference that can make for me.

    Thanks for spilling it out there, woman.
    xoxox

    • Hey, friend, I hope you are feeling better. You know you can send me an email if you need to. I think of you often!

      Hugs,
      GG

  3. There are so many shades of “feeling blah” Each one seems to have a character or a source, and if we can just find that source, we can remedy the situation. Sometimes I think blah is blah. It’s all the same blah, and it passes. Especially after some new change-up. A new hobby…or taking a new route to a place I always go…or forcing myself to do something I’ve procrastinated about, Forcing Myself.

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