Ups and downs, rounds and rounds. That’s a nice, pleasant way of talking about what’s been going on around here. E has been out of school this last week for Thanksgiving and that has been interesting. Mostly he’s slept and played on the computer. I tried to get him to help us out in the yard one day, thinking that might be something we could all do together, but he promptely stepped in dog poop and was pretty much out of the game after that.
G and I have had some really serious, sometimes almost too intense discussions. We broached the subject of separating, not because we lack or have lost feeling for each other, but because we just don’t know how to bridge the gulf between how we think this kid should be parented, and how we perceive a lot of his behavior, and how to reconcile those wildly differing philosophies. The thing that’s always in my mind when we have these back and forth, round and round, gut wrenching discussions is that he’s happily somewhere else (as he should be) not giving us the smallest thought in his FaceBook involved little head except where his next meal is coming from. I’m not saying that to be mean to him, but I know that teenagers are astoundingly self-absorbed (as they should be, to a certain extent) and they just don’t see why anything in the world should put them the least bit out of their comfort zone.
Friday night, after a particularly rough day, and a really rough week financially for me (computer crash last weekend, new hard drive installed, an entire day wasted trying to get my work VPN to connect. Basicially, I lost my whole work week last week. Fortunately, I WAS going to take 2 days off for the surgery that G postponed, so they let me take that time to help make up for it. Then my local comupter genius got me up and going in ten minutes after ten hours of failure with the company IT person…no offense to her, she tried everything. Tommy is just a genius.) But I digress.
Went to bed on Friday to find G surrounded by various books, one of which was this. We started talking. She was looking for some kind of inspirational book or relationship book or something of that nature that perhaps we could work on together every day, either reading to each other, discussing whatever it was, keeping our own journals about it, etc. That resonated with me on so many levels. I thought it was brilliant. I knew she had hit on exactly the right idea to help us get back to ourselves. Plus it would be taking E out of the equation of his behavior making us happy or unhappy, which was never going to work in the first place.
The book in the link is called “The Magic” and it’s kind of a more specific take on that book that was so popular a while back, “The Secret.” In many ways, it goes along with all the Abraham stuff, only this book helps you work specifically on gratitude. I’m really happy we started it now, right before Christmas, so that we can do the 28 days of exercises through this month of rampant and rabid consumerism, which we are doing our best not to get sucked into. (Easy for me–no money, no consuming–but G has a tough time denying E anything despite being royally aggravated by him most of the time.)
I started yesterday. I found an old sketch book mostly unused and decided to use that as my gratitude journal. First and foremost work is to write down ten things you are grateful for each morning before you do anything else. It’s pretty easy, because there are a lot of things to be grateful for, if you just look around you. But you have to focus. And you don’t always have to be grateful for “good” stuff because don’t we often learn the most from things that are less than pleasant? But aren’t we grateful afterwards when we become tougher and wiser? I know I am.
I was actually happy to get back to work yesterday after two weeks, so I decided to carry it further. On my little pieces of scrap paper that I keep beside the keyboard to jot things on, every so often a thought would occur to me about something I was grateful for and I noted it down. At the end of my shift last night, I typed them up. They came up to actually more than one grateful thought per hour that I worked:
- I am grateful for good dictators.
- I am grateful for OP notes.
- I am grateful for finding the document zoom function.
- I am grateful for a hug from my baby.
- I am grateful for toasted biscuits.
- I am grateful FB is not such a temptation anymore.
- I am grateful for good hearing.
- I am grateful for leftovers today.
- I am grateful for an extra hour of work offered today.
- I am grateful for keeping my cool.
- I am grateful for my grandson and his sense of humor.
- I am grateful for long reports.
- I am VERY grateful for my health.
- I am grateful for my line count of over 3600 today, a first for me.
I overslept this morning because I forgot to set my alarm clock, but thanks to my own internal alarm, I wasn’t late, just later than I usually wake up. However, I was grateful for six hours of good sleep. I moved into higher gear sooner than usual, but got everything done and logged in on time, only to have an email that work was low and to log off. I could have been bummed, but I’m grateful that it’s now at the beginning of a pay period with time to catch up, grateful for some time to blog, and when I finish this, I can go have coffee with G and maybe work on tomorrow’s lesson.
The things to be grateful about in your life are endless, if you will just focus on them and not what seems to be “bad.” I’m so glad that G had her brilliant idea. I can already feel it working on a lot of levels. I urge you all to try this. Oh, don’t run out and buy the book, especially if you’re pinching pennies right now, but just try being grateful every day. Ten things, that’s all. Even if you can’t find anything about your personal life to be thankful for, just look out into the world. A beautiful sunrise or sunset. Birds in the back yard. Clear skies or snow, depending on your preference. Raking leaves or not having to rake them. A quiet cup of coffee when you start the day. These simple things are plenty to get you started on your gratitude journey. I know that for me, this is one habit I want to cultivate and encourage starting right now. I can’t think of a better way to kick off December and this season of giving. Can you?