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August 19, 2014 Wakodahatchee Wetlands
In the past few weeks many of my friends on Facebook have been sharing a tagging post; it gets people to post three things they are grateful for in seven consecutive days and tagging others to follow suit. I was tagged more than once and politely explained that I am grateful for everything and everyone but that I could not commit to posting my gratitude every day. I was very happy that people saw me as one with an attitude of gratitude as well.
The truth is on one of the occasions I was tagged, I was in a very bad mood and did not feel like thanking anyone or anything; which of course is the whole point of gratitude journals, gratitude lists and any type of gratitude exercise; to make us aware of how much there is in our lives, all these are great tools of self-development and self-awareness. That day I would have surely benefitted from the challenge tremendously and I chose not to.
Today I am grateful that I can identify self-sabotages of the sort. Which brings me to this morning and why the second day of this school year was not great. I planned with great care to start the school year on a happy organized note this year, I executed great measures to make my plan work, however teen angst followed by teen rudeness, schedule problems; doctor’s forms (that is far from resolved) and other points I won’t bore you with (if you are a parent your list is flashing in your mind anyway), I was feeling ready to scream and explode. (Okay so in my car I did explode a bit).
I chose to get a nice cup of coffee and take a nice long walk to explore my gratitude at everything that was complicated and annoying this morning. After all I am so grateful that I was able to conceive a child late in life and at thirty-nine with no great discomfort or complication give birth to the teen with a not so nice attitude I dropped off in school this morning. I know that the first thing to be super grateful for is that I have the freedom to get coffee and go for a walk in a beautiful bird trail. I am fully aware that so many parents deal with the bad morning and dash of to an equally stressful job, so how dare I NOT be grateful at times.
With each step in my morning walk I realized that the reason these moments affect me so deeply is because I do generally live and have always lived a daily life with an enormous gratitude attitude. Thus the moments I am not grateful are not that common and make me feel out of my comfort zone.
Sure today I can go out and get that coffee and walk and have the privilege to play with words, create stories, write to my heart’s desire. My gratitude attitude however has always been there, even when I did not have the freedom or cash to do what I did this morning. The smallest silliest things in my daily life usually make me very aware that I am grateful. I have seen people absolutely baffled by my gratitude and happiness in the not so easy moments of my life.
The teen age moods and other distractions of the morning took a back-seat in my mind and I began to ponder if gratitude is a characteristic or a chosen way of life? Is it a trait we just have or is it a choice we make? Exploring my personal attitude of gratitude I clearly saw a back-flash of my childhood.
As a child in Mexico we unfortunately often saw crosses off the side of roads; you know the kind right? The ones symbolizing that someone had somehow lost their life there, through an accident with a vehicle whether crash or run over. My back flash was sitting in a family car and seeing such a cross.
Everyone in the car made the automatic gesture to bless themselves; in our large family the car was always packed, next to the cross we read a sign it said.
“Thank you Lord that my child died run over and not by drowning.”
I remember feeling horrified that anyone would thank the Lord for their child dying and I voiced my opinion.
“How can it say THANK YOU?”
The answer from the Catholic adults in the car was an explanation that a quick sudden death inflicted by the impact of a car, presumably not seen coming, was surely far more merciful than that drowning with the horror of the inevitable expectation.
I don’t remember being very satisfied by the answer, I may well add here that as an adult I am by choice not a Catholic. I am not in the least bit religious, but I am very spiritual and do pray daily; my prayers are full of gratitude and not of suppliant pleas.
So is my attitude of gratitude one that comes from upbringing or is it my nature to be grateful? Well if it comes from up-bringing then all my siblings would presumably be like-minded, I don’t see that as the case.
But as a society the country of my birth; whether because of the strong Catholic influence or because there is so much lack does seem to me to have a stronger attitude of gratitude than other countries I have lived in.
I know many grateful Americans, Swedes, Canadians, and French…. Name the country and you are sure to find grateful happy people. I also have no doubt that in developing countries, such as Mexico you will also find many that do not fit the gratitude norm I describe, but in general I do think one can make a valid point.
Would it be socio-economic or simply philosophical? Do people from countries used to having more expect more before they are grateful? Is that part of the globalization influence that is changing our world at speeds societies cannot adapt to fast enough also changing our global attitude of gratitude? For better or worse.
With modern technology societies everywhere are very completely aware of what is out there and understandably want their chance at getting more. I am not talking about mere possessions here at all; I am talking about the possibilities of achievement or of freedoms that other societies possess.
In my walk I wondered if because of global awareness there could be an argument of a sort of reversal in gratitude attitude whereby the people of countries that have less; now more aware want more and the gratitude movements of self-help books and modern philosophies in the more developed countries.
My phone rang and I had to continue unraveling the glitches on my plans for a productive and positive school year. Grateful that I live a life where I have the privilege of having such mundane troubles when so much of the world is in so much violence, hardship and turmoil.
Two Standard Oil Men Killed
in Plane Crash; British M.P. Also
Is a Victim in Denmark
Special Cable to THE NEW YORK TIMES. August 16, 1939
Source of images Danish Museum of Science and Technology, The Zonen Salvage Collection
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