Remember that all-consuming feeling of utter excitement that you used to have when you were young and opened your eyes in the morning? Like, you GET TO get up and go to school! You GET TO put on those cool new shoes! You GET TO play with your friends! You GET TO go ride your bike! You GET TO hug your baby sister or your new puppy! You GET TO go buy some candy with the change your grandma gave you! You GET TO go climb up into the treehouse! You GET TO help your mom make cookies! You GET TO, you absolutely do GET TO……..WAKE UP & LIVE LIFE.
Yes, this post is about GRATITUDE, in a way that captures that excitement that we all had as young children, before we understood tragedy and heartbreak and all that can go wrong with our day. I propose that we try to really remember that feeling of just jumping out of bed and being happy and thrilled to start the day — and try to re-capture that electric feeling and live it NOW.
I realized it had been a long time since I’d jumped out of bed in the morning. Even if the alarm went off and I had to get up early to do something special. I would gradually waken while laying there ruminating about: a) what happened yesterday, b) what do I have to do today, c) what did I eat yesterday, d) who am I going to have to see today that I don’t want to, e) what do I have to accomplish today, f) did I exercise yesterday, g) what did I not finish yesterday, h) who is annoyed with me, i) who has betrayed me, j) and let’s review all my embarrassing moments of the past 6 months, no the past 3 years, no………… well, you get the picture! The brooding can start to get pretty depressing if allowed to continue. And this might very well be a day filled with fun and good things to look forward to!
Whenever I get stuck in an emotional pattern that doesn’t feel good, I try to go back to a place in my past, usually in young childhood, where the good feelings were pure and uncomplicated. Sun UP? Then, YAY! Let’s get this show on the road! Why not jump up and look out the window and greet the sun? I confess I’ve done this lately and have even scared my husband out of his gradual awakening by my sudden leap from the bed and throwing up the window blinds!!! “Huh?!? What’s wrong?”, he says. “Nothing!”, I reply, “I’m just excited!”, then he looks at me with that silent quizzical eye and probably thinks “That’s another one of those silly city girl things that she does…..well, if it makes her happy….cuckoo!!!” Yes, cuckoo for cocoa puffs, you gotta be a little crazy to ignore all the voices of “reason” and “logic” and “maturity” that are whispering to you to zip it up, get serious and don’t be so naive. I mean, after all, think of all the drudgery that lays ahead today, the hard work, all the bad things going on in the world, how can you possibly be excited?
Because EACH DAY IS A GIFT. Am I breathing? Did I open my eyes? How lucky am I! Even if the day is going to be a tough challenge, let’s say going to juvenile court with your son, for example, you GET TO. You GET TO put on those pretty new earrings! You GET TO drive a car! You GET TO see the enormous incredible sky! You GET TO have a tasty coffee! You GET TO help your child maneuver through this moment of his life! You GET TO see beautiful scenery and buildings! You GET TO listen to music! You GET TO reassure your child and listen to him confess his regret! You GET TO watch him grow! You GET TO hear and read love messages from family and friends on your iPhone! You GET TO hug your child and be hugged by your husband! All these things are there for the taking, the appreciating. Things that are the gifts to your own fabulous unique life. It’s not crazy, it’s hyper sane if you ask me. And it can turn your world upside down.
As we get older, our sense of time changes. It definitely feels like its speeding up. I think that’s because at a certain point, we’ve been there, done that over and over and know what to expect. We take so much for granted because its not new anymore. Even if we haven’t done that particular thing before or gone to that particular place before, we pretty much can predict what the experience will be like because of similar experiences in our past. But if we try to look at the situation in a new way, with gratitude eyes, looking for the silver lining, the true thing that we cynically ignored in the past, then suddenly it all slows down. We’re not sleepwalking through life any more. PINCH ME! I get to LIVE, right now, right here!!!!!
Even in the worst predicaments, like major health problems, or being in an abusive situation that feels endless, you still GET TO have dreams and hope. And if you’re stuck in a seemingly boring, routine life and work, pinch yourself to remind yourself you’re alive and its STILL YOUR DAY. Always is.
So my 1.pinch 2.self 3.daily collage this week is a portrait of my hands. Pinching self and reaching toward the sun. I think this might be my new mantra. The sun and rays are a recurring motif in my art, I’m noticing. This collage another “assignment” from Brave Girls Art School (http://bravegirlsclub.com/wing-sessions), using a great technique for those of us who are challenged in the life drawing department! Take a photo of your hands, print it out and then paint over it and add whatever clothing or jewelry you want with other collage techniques. Easy! Really!
What are you pinching yourself about today? I’d love to here about instances where you’ve found the silver lining in a bad situation. Did it make it more bearable? Did it make you feel grateful, more alive and in the moment? Please don’t hesitate to leave a reply comment!!! And make sure to check back if you do, because there just might be a reply to your reply.