One night as my blood boiled at 12am from experiencing all the unfairness, weaknesses, mess-ups and stuck-ness of life and myself, I searched in the dark for that miracle creature that’s supposed to make even the most miserable people happy: Gratitude.
I have not done my gratitude practice for months because: 1) The day is obviously 30 seconds too short for anyone to have time for deciding and writing down the happiest moment of their day. 2) There are a couple things that I wish to/should/must be grateful for, but I can’t feel it. And that’s where my mind likes to get hung up on. It gets too busy feeling a lack of gratefulness to notice the little things like friendship, husband, health, stability, etc.
In my dark hell of a mind I would not have found anything to be grateful for. But I breathed out and felt “Hmmm it feels so good to finally lie down on the bed.”
Finally, the tail of Gratitude brushes past my fingertips. I held on. Actually it might just be its toe nails. But I saw it as a miracle nonetheless. I recited silently “I’m grateful I get to lie down now. I’m grateful I get to lie down now in a very comfortable bed. (body sinking a little deeper into the mattress). A very comfortable bed indeed with pillows and covers…”
It’s like drinking milk after you’ve eaten some hot jalapenos. Then I drift off to sleep as if I have not had a bad day at all.
The more I think about gratitude, which people talk about a lot, especially over the past few weeks when they reflected on the end of the year, the more resistance I realize I have about it. Come to think of it, it feels very vulnerable to feel gratitude. It can feel like you’re giving your power and control away. It can be uncomfortably humbling to realize how your life and wellbeing is like a joint-effort by your family and friends. Bus drivers, builders, doctors and everybody also contribute. We are so intricately connected and the list of people and things we can be grateful for are endless.
Being grateful feels like surrender. The more I say I’m grateful for something, even just in my own head, the more I feel like I’m falling back on thin air – except it’s not thin air but something much more mysterious, because you are supported, at least for now. And you’re unsure if you can believe that this rainbow colored mysterious air will continue to support you or not. I feel elated at the prospect of it propping me up forever as much as I feel scared and that I might decide to jump off it any second, in case it disappears.
I struggled, in my own words, with feeling grateful for some people in my life – family, in-laws. In this video below, Dr. Brene Brown talks about Practising Gratitude, which is not like having an “attitude for gratitude or feeling grateful”. People who are joyful because they practice gratitude have, actually, a tangible practice such as a journal or saying what they’re grateful for every day at a certain time. So I’ll try to forget about feeling grateful and adopt a gratitude practice.
But I have still many questions.
Anybody feels the same?