Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Grateful for Gratitude...

I realized over the last few days that I hadn't written - here on the Gratitude Blog, At The Connected Psy blog, haven't added to the Good Things Jar really....  and I thought this is not ok. It's important to stop and recognize whats good, what works, what you might be grateful for .. even when it's work. Know what I mean?

I know I am among a large group when I tell you - I have had enough of winter. I dont recall having felt the winter "blahs" this badly - like ever. But I'm done. And it would be really easy to slip in to a hibernating kind of depressed place and just grin and bear it out. But I can do better than that. I really can. I can look around and be grateful for my work. I love my clients, love the privilege they afford me by sharing their stories, how much I learn about myself every hour I work. Thank you.

I can step back and say wow - things are going really well with my family. That doesn't happen every day, so it's important to recognize it when it does.

I can step out and run or walk, appreciate that while yes, dammit, its snowing again, its also only -1 not -25... I'm plenty grateful for that! It also means I will probably go snow shoeing this weekend where I will get some physical activity as well as be surrounded by nature. I'm feeling better already.

Partaking in the practice of being conscious of gratitude might sometimes feel like work however, I never come away from contemplating gratitude or recognizing the good things, feeling bad. I just never do.  So I'm grateful for my practice, grateful that I choose to hold myself accountable, grateful for gratitude.

Monday, February 18, 2013

A Million Miles Away...

About three to four years ago, youngest daughter decided on sort of a whim, to pack her bags and head out West. I personally hated the idea. I thought it rash, not thought through, too far away .... I had a whole list of reasons why she shouldn't go. I also had no power to stop her. And now as I contemplate this I might be grateful I didn't.

I make the trek out to see her and my youngest grandson about twice a year. She makes the trek back home about once a year. Where would we be without Skype? Still, to me this is obviously not enough - but it is what it is. It's bittersweet actually. Through this distance my daughter and I have been able to repair what was a relationship fraught with all manner of insecurity and misunderstanding. We had a tough road of it in the beginning. Now we listen. Now we talk more than I ever would have dreamed possible. Now we count on each other, respect each other, value each other's input into our lives. If anyone would have told me ten years ago that I would have a relationship with her that included speaking almost everyday I would never have believed it. I realize people say absence makes the heart grow fonder - but its about a lot more than that. You need to want to have someone in your life for that to be felt. So all this to say .... I dont know that we would have had the opportunity for our relationship to be so nicely repaired had she not made the choices she has made.  I'm grateful for where we are now as a family.

Through this distance too, I have come to know Canmore quite well, to know these mountains. If you don't know where Canmore is... it's a little piece of heaven about a twenty minutes drive from Banff. The town of Canmore is in a "bowl" of rocky mountains. From where ever it is you are in town... the dog run, your back yard, the park, the recycling plant (seriously) you are surrounded by majesty and wonder. I keep wondering if people here ever get tired of this .. but apparently not.

At the present moment it's my third day here. On day one we woke up early to go for coffee - it was sunrise - which happens a little later here because the sun needs to make it over these mountains. Well for what ever reason, clouds, humidity in the air - I don't know - but three mornings ago we stepped out into a wonder of orange and pink light bouncing off the sky. It was amazing. The sun then hit the peaks of the mountains and turned them orange too. All this against a changing blue sky - from the indigo, to turquoise, to icy blue, all blending in with the grey and white of the mountains. My description does it no justice at all. It was breathtaking. Yesterday - we woke to snow, lots and lots of snow. It snowed all day. We took a three hour walk in that snow. It was delicious. Today day three... we awoke to a clear blue sky - no orange, or pink - just brilliant sunlight waking the mountains up. The pines in the mountains are all covered in snow - I can't describe how magical it all looks.

You'd think I would have the sense to step out with my camera. Ya well, it's tough taking pics when you're a Grandma skating after a puck on the hockey rink!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Calming Down...

I have been taking a yoga class since the beginning of the year, at Yoga On The Park on Sherbrooke. I love it there. It's peaceful. My teacher Joanne is patient and gentle and kind. I come away from the class relaxed, exhausted (because who knew Yoga could be such a workout??) and happy.

I have noticed a shift in myself. It used to be that I would fidget, bounce around, ham it up as it were - yes, even in a yoga class. I remember I once took an African dance class, meant as an exercise. I felt so self-conscious (jiggling around in front of a full length mirror) I actually asked the teacher if he wanted to pair it up with a self-esteem class (physician heal thyself I always say) ... my self-consciousness manifesting in my refusal to calm down and follow instructions, better to be noticed for the clown I can be than the uncomfortable student, ashamed of her body, or lack of dancing finesse .. or who knows what.

Well I'm really happy to report that on this side of 50 all that seems to have disappeared, not that I'm running to the next African dance class - but I am so much more centred and at peace and accepting of myself.  It isn't about what others see or are doing any more. I dont even need to be noticed by the teacher anymore - even though her gentle touch makes me feel special and cared for.  It's about my investment in me. It's about my relationship with my self, my body, my sense of who I am, the space I take up.

A lot of folk complain about aging... but I gotta tell you, the experience of no longer being tethered to a need for approval, or a need to be noticed is incredibly freeing. I'm grateful to be able to experience it. I'm grateful to be conscious enough to notice it.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Walking the Talk...

I have been assigning as homework, to a number of my clients, the task of writing a Gratitude journal.

Here's why:

A little over a week ago I found another blog that said reflecting on gratitude daily alleviated depression. Well what are we all waiting for?  Read it here:  Gratitude

I can honestly say that having written for most of a year changed how I see the world, how I see my life, how I see my options. The art of feeling grateful has remained with me. I notice the colour of the sky and appreciate that, I notice flowers, I notice kindness and joy when it spills out in front of me. I LIKE that... I love it as a matter of fact. I believe writing the blog in 2010 did a lot to help me not spiral into a depression. As a matter of fact, I miss writing a gratitude blog.

I have decided to get back on board, to write again. So hang on... here we go.

And to keep it very simple, I am really grateful that I am over my three week cold. It kept me from walking and/or running and that was tough. Exercise is such a salve. I am really proud that I have managed to make it such an integral part of my most every day. I have learned to invest in myself, to believe that the time I put towards my well being is important and well spent. Yay me.