November Gratitude Shorts, Days 25-30
Hello Friends, I have missed you! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend.
I find it funny that I stopped posting on Gratitude the day before Thanksgiving—how ironic! Believe me, it was not from lack of thankfulness or desire. I had to make some decisions about how to spend my time and energy this past week, and I chose to forgo posting each day. It doesn’t feel too bad—I did make it 24 days, after all! It helps that I set out on this NaBloPoMo challenge with high hopes and low expectations. Looking back, some of the posts this month make me pretty proud; others I’m happy to forget. As Ben Zander would say, “How fascinating!”
I felt validated this weekend by Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook post on quitting versus surrendering. Quitting, she writes, is when you just plain give up. Surrender, on the other hand, happens when you come to the end of your power. I kept up my daily posts, for the most part, and it cost me time and energy, both finite resources. Over the month, I finally had to admit that I was overextended. I started to worry about neglecting my family—that was a sign. This holiday weekend was a great chance for us to spend all kinds of quality time together, and I think I made the right choices. Yes, I committed to post daily gratitude. It didn’t work out. Meh.
What were the underlying goals and drivers of this challenge? It was an exercise to practice intentional gratitude, and articulate it. It was a chance to confront my perfectionist tendencies, the ones that keep me from trying new things because I fear doing them, well, imperfectly. I now have a clearer view of my abilities, limitations, and priorities. I came to the end of my power for posting in this format and frequency, and realized that it’s more than I thought I had in me, yay! I did not quit my posts. I surrendered to the realities of life and learned important lessons about myself. Gilbert writes, “There is always grace in surrender. There is always truth in surrender. There is always a great deal of human dignity in surrender.” I agree.
On this final day of November, as we move well into the holiday season, I feel truly grateful for so many things. Our holiday weekend was both relaxing and productive. We slept in, saw family, ate too much, and purged our closets. We spent time together all four of us, and the hubs and I managed to get in a date night, too—thank you, sister-in-law, for babysitting! I wanted to write about all of it, but sometimes you just have to live in it first.
With all the hostility exploding around the world, some of it in my own backyard, I am reminded that every day is a gift. Each day that does not visit tragedy on my front door is a day to be truly appreciated. And while I cannot myself affect positive change on a global scale, I can do my part in each of my human interactions. When someone cuts me off in traffic or behaves rudely at the store, I can choose to tell a story of compassion and patience, rather than personal affront. The outcome of all this gratitude should be better behavior on my part—more love and light directed outward, indiscriminately, driven by an internal flame, fueled by the realization that I have everything I need and more. My NaMo may have fizzled this last week, but it was an awesome fizzle indeed, and I am proud to own it.