Monday, April 11, 2011

a monday kind of gratitude.

last monday [remember, i'm backblogging!]
was such a stereotypical monday for me.

we had spent the weekend up in dallas,
where sweet husband had a gig saturday night
& where my folks & sister live,
so our whole family [both pups, too] went for a visit.

mostly, it was fine.

but the gig was poorly promoted,
so not terribly well-attended.

& my tea-partying parents both breached
our no-political-rhetoric armistice
[for example, my mother griping about
the sole spanish-language performance of
toy story 3 on ice, & my father joshing
off-the-cuff, "i want a free lunch -
i must be turning into a democrat!"]
several times over our two-day stay.

& on our way home, little boy had to stop
four times [within 200 miles] along ih-35 to pee,
lengthening our travel time considerably.
& i got crabby about the long ride
in the crowded car, still stewing
about not being prepared with a
snappy retort to my folks' commentary.

& then came monday.

we overslept. by about an hour.

big girl forgot her clean clothes for gym class,
so her dad made a special delivery to the middle school.

i forgot my monday cardio class begins
a half-hour earlier than it used to,
so i missed half of it.

i got an email containing the news that
my late birthmom's husband remarried last fall.
but this email wasn't from him, & even though
we've been in loose contact with one another,
he's never mentioned his new-ish nuptials.

oh, & i was having a terrible hair day.

it was a monday, through & through.

so with that laundry list of laments,
i wasn't exactly feeling the old attitude of gratitude.
& it would have been simple to slip into a monday malaise.

but i didn't. [!]

because - thanks to the brilliant brene brown
i now understand i don't have to be feeling the grateful
in order to glean the key benefit of gratitude: joy.

whenever i'm not feeling especially grateful,
i can still practice gratitude - say, by
listing three blessings of my life,
or thinking of how a not-spectacular situation
could have been way worse,
or searching for something beautiful to snap an instagram of -
& reap the reward of joy.

which is not to say practicing gratitude
will instantaneously turn that frown upside-down.
because - again, according to dr. brown -
happiness & joy are different animals
[neither perpetual, both necessary, &
frequently mutually exclusive].

quoth bb: "happiness is tied to circumstance,
& joyfulness is tied to spirit ... ."

so while we must note & create the experiences
that bring us happiness,
we also need to cultivate the spiritual practices
that lead to joyfulness -
particularly gratitude.

so here's what i lovelovelove about this information:
it means i can have a crapass monday or a crapass month
or even a crapass year [spectre of 2002, i see you lurking],
& still live from a place of joy
simply by practicing gratitude.

so today, i'm grateful it's monday again,
the fresh beginning of a new springtime week.

& you??

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