Tag Archives: nature

I Will Continue to be Grateful, Regardless

Kousa Dogwood, Fall, 2016

Kousa Dogwood,
Fall, 2016

Five days before the presidential election of 2016, I am anxious, eager for closure, a resolution to the intense, verbal barrage of words—all framed to influence my vote.

I am a Hillary supporter—have been, hope to continue, long after November 8th. I am grateful for her spunk, her dogged effort to pursue her aspiration, her fortitude and persistence. If she wins, I will be ever-so-much-more grateful for all her effort and the efforts of all who have worked to support her. And, if she does not, I hope to continue to seek, focus on and attain a sense of gratitude.

I have found that gratitude can be accessed and noted every day. Gratitude is present if one pays attention. In this media based society, so focused on the input of news and opinion making, it is challenging but necessary to step back, shut out the media/Facebook/tweeting and shift into the quest for quiet and paced reflection.

There are so many levels of gratitude, the choice evoked by attentiveness to an immediate resonance— a heartfelt memory, a meaningful encounter, the promise of satisfying effort. I learned to slow down while collecting limpet shells on the Maine shoreline. Nowadays, I slow down to collect moments of gratitude in my garden, in my everyday encounters, in my reflections as I shower.

At a recent women’s group meeting, I heard anxiety in the discussion of my close peers. How alike we are in our anxiety over the fate of our nation and especially with regard to our children and grandchildren’s future. Yet, in spite of the worrisome undercurrents in our circle, because we zeroed in and narrowed our range of concern and interest, each of us was able to focus on aspects of gratitude in our lives.

I spoke of my gratitude for my writing practice, the opportunity to pursue multiple options, the struggle to attend to one or two pieces and bring them to completion. In a month, I will have published 52 gratitude posts on my blog.

But what of November 9th? If my candidate loses, will I be able to focus and seek the kinetic attachment, pen to paper, articulate the gratitude experience at a gut/visceral experience, find the words to seek the balance basic to my mantra: Gratitude is as Gratitude Does?

The answer is as always—onward. On the drive home from the meeting in Lowell, there were four of us. Claudine, an artist, commented on how, in her urban environment, she had thought the fall colors had waned but that on the highway, she noticed an abundance of orange/yellow trees in full array. I was grateful for her observing eye: the many shapes and designs, the glorious display, which heightened my sense of being.

I offer this as metaphor— for all of us in the aftermath of November 8th, to notice the ever-changing landscape, to seek what attracts and resonates, to articulate what makes you grateful, to express thankfulness in word or deed.

 

Gratitude Nourishes

FullSizeRender

courtesy of Don Briddell, artist

Just as food nourishes the body, gratitude nourishes the spirit. I eat three meals a day; I seek out the experience of gratitude each day.

I experience gratitude as a bane against loneliness, the arrival of resonance—a welcoming, a pleasing, a touching of the heart and an appeal to my sensibility.

Gratitude is as gratitude does is a phrase I turn to daily. It prompts me to consider and reflect upon events, discoveries, happenings, and interactions, which spark gratitude and affect my sense of well-being.

How we experience gratitude is personal and imbedded in our personal stories. For myself, gratitude arrives when I interact with another person or creature and feel appreciative of kindness or benefits received or when I interact in an environment pleasing to my mind or senses.

The spring I turned 82 was a teeter-totter spring— wet, rainy and cold with occasional warm days in the seventies prompting trees to leaf out and burst with pollen. On a morning when my eyes wept and my head felt clogged with cotton baton, I watched two young blue jays play wing tag across my back hill.

The first bird, lithe and energetic, whizzed by when another—lighter, flightier—its movement as bold as its blue feathered body lit against the lime green landscape. My blood raced with the tempo of their flight. As if to assure me that indeed there were two, they launched their winged dance center stage —up and down and around the sheltered back hill for a full five minutes—to a riveted audience of one.

I imagined a nest, for they seemed quite at home flitting in and out of the oaks and American Beeches. My spirit soared with gratitude for their choice so close to the parade of kitchen windows. I felt alert, keener to face the day.

Late morning, I was startled by the sound of birds squabbling. From the picture window facing the front garden, I watched two robins in a sparked encounter. They shrieked and circled in a winner-take-all round. Like the jays, they were young, likely fresh from the nest. A resident robin couple has nested in the garden for years. In seconds, one of the adults swooped down to break up the fight, causing the offspring to stop their encounter and fly off separately.

What were the odds on a day when my body and spirit felt weighted down, I would notice and become captivated by two bird events? For a few engaging minutes, I stepped out of my miasma into the fledglings’ world where I floated into memory and my own family.

As a young mother, I delighted in my children’s antics. Like the small jays and robins, my son and daughter scrambled, flitted, and fought with such vitality. I miss their presence, my own youthful energy, the promise of wings, of things to come. They are now full grown and parents. I am grateful for my nest of five grandchildren and their promise.