Grateful, even so

The universe, she is laughing at me.
This is my third attempt to write a blog about gratitude.

The first two times got eaten my by computer. I saved them wrong. I know, you think, what are the odds? That’s why I think the universe is having a good laugh.

The first time, I sat in a meditative space and wrote the blog with deep joy. Writing it took me someplace I hadn’t intended to go, and by the time I was through, I had my plan in place for this week of Thanksgiving, as overloaded with tasks as it is: Just focus on being grateful. Don’t worry about anything else. Stuff will get done or it won’t, but my only job is to be grateful.

The second time, writing the blog was a little less inspiring to me, but it was better written. You would have like it. I talked about all of the things I have learned about moving from a place of joy, from a place of gratitude. I said that I don’t believe that stress, or just doing things to do them, is truly necessary for getting things done.

And now here I am grinding this third attempt out, because it is due today and if I don’t write it I will have blown my deadline. Doing just what draft 2 said I didn’t need to do! Draft 2 did acknowledge that yes, there are times, when deadlines or urgency compel us to move from a place of necessity. But even then, said my draft 2 calmer and wiser self, we can be grateful.

So here’s the challenge of the third draft: Can I be grateful even when I am frustrated by my own ineptitude, frustrated by needless and stupid mistakes? And here’s what I see: Yep, even then. I’m still grateful for the chance to speak here, for the opportunity to express myself, for the knowledge that people will take a moment to read what I have written, despite my obvious imperfection. But I also see that gratitude is not always a slow, ponderous, let’s take a moment and breathe deep and be grateful, kind of process. This time other deadlines—places to be, people to feed, other tasks to get done, nip at my heels and call me to move quickly. This time I am grateful on the fly!

So, in this Thanksgiving week that has taken me by surprise, arriving sooner than I expected, and without my readiness, this is indeed my intention: to stay in gratitude, even when I’m not in a state of deep cosmic focus. To let gratitude be there with my to do list that seems to grow instead of shrinking, with all of life’s distractions, with my frustrations, my mistakes, my obligations, my unmet deadlines, with people who annoy me, traffic jams, relatives with different ideas about the perfect Thanksgiving meal, a computer that eats documents when a not-too-bright person is at the helm.

I’ll let gratitude be the spice that makes the soup delicious, even if the main ingredients are beans and rice. I’ll let gratitude be the bow on the package, even if the package is wrapped in old newspaper. I’ll let gratitude be the cherry on top, even if it is on top of a plate of leftovers. I’ll trust that gratitude is there, holding together all that feels like it is falling apart.

And so, during this hectic week, I invite you to be there, in all of the chaos, however you do or don’t celebrate on Thursday, whether you are angry and lonely or mellow and blissful, to remember that gratitude is always there for us to rest in. We can breathe it, sleep in it, eat it with the turkey or tofurkey.

Whatever you do, or don’t do, this week, may gratitude whisper in your ear, arise from your heart, and flow out from all that you do and who you are. Even, or especially, when you screw up, when you feel you’ve got too little too late, when you want to throw a little tiny tantrum. Especially then.

(And please, Gods and Goddesses, may I save this document correctly!)

  • http://frankscottage.wordpress.com Frank King

    Excellent blog. I find Thanksgiving is a necessary, if annoying, reminder that I often think I ‘deserve’ things and don’t need to be thankful. I wrote an essay about it: http://bit.ly/P9fBuF

  • kalimsaki

    “He is the praise”

    Praise, laudation, and acclaim are proper to Him, are fitting for Him. That is to say, bounties are His; they come from His treasury. And as for the treasury, it is unending. This phrase, therefore, delivers the following good news:
    O man! Do not suffer and sorrow when bounties cease, for the treasury of mercy is inexhaustible. Do not dwell on the fleeting nature of pleasure and cry out with pain, because the fruit of the bounty is the fruit of a boundless mercy. Since its tree is undying, when the fruit finishes it is replaced by more. If you thankfully think of there being within the pleasure of the bounty a merciful favour a hundred times more pleasurable, you will be able to increase the pleasure a hundredfold.
    An apple an august monarch presents to you holds a pleasure superior to that of a hundred, indeed a thousand, apples, for it is he that has bestowed it on you and made you experience the pleasure of a royal favour. In the same way, through the phrase “His is the praise” will be opened to you the door of a spiritual pleasure a thousand times sweeter than the bounty itself.
    For the phrase means to offer praise and thanks; that is to say, to perceive the bestowal of bounty. This in turn means to recognize the Bestower, which is to reflect on the bestowal of bounty, and so finally to ponder over the favour of His compassion and His continuing to bestow bounties.

    From Risalei Nur collection by Said Nursi.