I have been learning a little more about mindfulness lately. Learning how to practice it and learning about why it helps, or at least helps some, to deal with everyday life. I for one am an advocate, since I have been learning a few techniques I now have an understanding of the fact that a) it’s a lot harder than it sounds, and b) how my catastrophic thinking can derail my ability to seamlessly complete tasks that really should not be so difficult.
Another thing I have been doing this week is acknowledging things I am grateful for. Every day, I try to write down (but sometimes I just specifically acknowledge them in my head), 5 things I am grateful for.
Today I spent the morning with one of my best friends to celebrate her birthday. The breakfast was organised by her husband and the hours passed quickly. I love spending time with these people, they have an innate ability to make everyone around them feel special, and today I realised that perhaps part of the reason why they are so happy is because they are truly grateful for what they have, these people really understand what it means to be truly grateful and as a result they are all so inclusive, loving and warm, one cannot help but want to be around them. I also had the honor of spending Christmas day with them. I will admit that on Christmas morning, I did not want to go. I had spent the morning by the ocean, encapsulated by the bubble of my own thoughts, and I must admit, very few of them were positive. I had to resist the overpowering urge to call M and tell her I would not be joining them for lunch after all, but the grown-up in me forced myself to buck up, put on my party dress and get in the car. There are many moments from that afternoon that are memorable for me, but perhaps the most memorable moment was after I had left in the early evening and was driving home, and I realised how happy I was, and how glad I was that I had gone. Had I stayed at home I probably would have been by that stage, quite inebriated and feeling extremely sorry for myself. Instead, despite having left the party, I felt uplifted and contented and…grateful. This family was the perfect antedote to my anxiety, my pain and my loneliness when my own family were themselves, too far away.
I have been told that if you consciously acknowledge what you are grateful for – preferably by writing it down every day – then you can change your whole outlook on your life in a very short period of time. I have found myself being far more negative in recent years (this blog is the perfect example of that), yet perhaps with this one simple task, I can change my default setting to a more brighter outlook – one in which allows me to see the best in people first, and allow negativity to slide off me instead of allowing negative comments to stick to me like feathers to treacle.
Today my 5 things are:
- Air-conditioning (I’m not being trite, this weekend has been a scorcher!);
- A loyal dog who is always happy to see me, even if I have left her locked up in the house (in the aircon) most of the weekend when she would rather be outside playing;
- My beautiful friend M, and her amazing family & friends;
- G, who braved the heat with me in search of new light fittings and paint AND who volunteered his services to even start the prep work when I am out getting a new hairdo next Saturday;
- The ocean and my proximity to it (even though I could – and would – be much closer to it by choice!)