“Rejoicing in ordinary things is not sentimental or trite. It actually takes guts. Each time we drop our complaints and allow everyday good fortune to inspire us, we enter the warrior’s world.” – Pema Chodron
I had a few mini “a-ha!” moments this week. Some of them aren’t necessarily related to gratitude, but they definitely have to do with well-being, and when I’m feeling content, the gratitude tends to flow a little more easily, so… worth noting.
– First “a-ha!” moment:
We’re not huge 4th of July people. I appreciate the significance of the holiday, and am probably more patriotic that most people I know, but the holiday itself is not for me. It’s a very social/crowdy kind of holiday, I think, and as I’ve gotten older, I’m embracing my anti-social/avoid-crowd tendencies more and more. So unless we’re invited somewhere specific for something we *really* want to do, we tend to just stay home and treat it like any other day. However, we happen to have a crazy-amazing view of the official city fireworks show that Marco Island puts on every summer. It’s half an hour long, it’s beyond description. So no matter what’s going on on July 4th, and 9pm we all go out on the lanai and watch the fireworks.
ANYWAY, for some reason, Gracie got REALLY excited about the fireworks this year. For the past few days, she’s been talking about them a lot. She’s at this stage now where she gets excited about things and likes to count down to pretty much everything.
I realized, once again, that six-years-old is a GREAT age for kids and for parents. And then I started feeling guilty that maybe I’m not appreciating it enough, blah blah blah.
But then I realized I *do* appreciate it. I notice it constantly, and I get an emotional kick from it every time it happens. So that, right there, is gratitude and appreciation, once again flowing in the shadow of some bigger emotion.
I think I’m starting to get the hang of this.
– Second “a-ha!” moment:
I realized that perfection, or wanting to be perfect (or meticulous or detailed or correct or “doing it the right way”) takes up SIGNIFICANT amounts of time. And that’s time I could be spending on other stuff. So every time I give up the pursuit of perfection, every time I stop being so obsessive, every time I just make a QUICK decision rather than agonizing over something, I’m gaining myself serious time and energy. So, by abandoning perfection, even though it feels awfully careless and lazy of me, I’m actually doing something good for myself.
Yes, I know, this is kind of “A-DUH!”, but I finally understood it. Perfection, literally, is a huge waste of time.
– Third “a-ha!” moment:
Over on Kelly’s blog she was talking a little about receiving the right things at the right time, and gratitude, and I shared a little bit about our situation when Tom was downsized a few summers ago. Because of the economy, jobs were few and far between. A few weeks into the search, we both decided that Tom should go back to school for his degree. He had been wanting to do it for years, but work got in the way. And although it seemed a little financially irresponsible, he only had a few classes to take, it was fairly inexpensive to do online, and when he finished and had his degree and the certifications that came with it, the job opportunities would multiply. It was a giant risk, to say the least. But it felt so right.
While I was typing the comment, I realized something- when we both decided to take a huge risk in *good* direction, it paid off. Tom wound up getting a job offer soon after he started classes, and now he’s working for a company he loves doing work he LOVES and going to school.
I’m starting to realize passionate risks pay off. Like, when you really just buckle down and focus and make a big decision, that feeling of hope you invest into it seems to cycle back in a positive way. I don’t know if this is making any sense, but it was a BIG FAT reminder that I need to passionately commit to taking a few more risks.
– Fourth “a-ha!” moment:
Half a juice-glass of chocolate milk before bed is a Very Good Thing. It feels like a treat, but it’s not enough to mess with my sleepiness or stomach. Who knew? Just noting it so I remember that small changes in routine can sometimes be very beneficial.
Common Miracles is a project I started in May, 2011 to examine and discover how gratitude works in everyday life. To find out more about Common Miracles please visit the very first post about this project, located here.