2017 and gratitude
My word for 2017 will be gratitude, which means for 365 days, I will attempt to practice and keep gratitude in mind every day. This will be a simple (I hope) matter of developing the habit of reviewing the day and listing events, things, places and people I am grateful for when I lie down to go to sleep.
daily creative practice and 30 days of gratitude
I belong to an on-line mutual support community called the daily creative practice (dcp) and in November we challenged ourselves to post each day one thing we were grateful for.
I didn’t manage to post every day or to do my nightly review process, which is why I’m going to make an effort in 2017 and see where it takes me. I sense there’s great power in gratitude.
After nearly 10 months in Valencia, I notice that I can easily slip into hum-drum routine and forget that I am living my dream and I have a lot to be grateful for. I attribute part of this attitude to the recent rain. Valencia, a city renown for 340 days of sunshine a year, in October and November also has the fame for intense rain storms.
Rain was one of the reasons we left London, and we have barely seen rain during the last 10 months, so it’s been something of a shock. Also completely mind-blowing was the recent flooding of our fifth floor flat. You see, at times it has rained so hard and so fast that the drain pipe on our terrace couldn’t handle the quantity of rain that fell and it leaked in through the door.
surprise, curiosity and gratitude
A colleague in the dcp group posted one day about finding surprise, curiosity and gratitude in “accidents” (her gentle way of saying “bad things”). I forget now what her story was, but I know that attitude is helping me to shift my thinking about the weather. I know first-hand through the community garden project I’m part of (L’horta el Cabanyal) that Mother Earth needs the rain. I also know that when I lived in London, I adjusted to the climate, I may never really like rain, but I came to accept it, live with it, and get on with life. So now, it’s a matter of learning to accept this “season” of rain in Valencia.
mindfulness, compassion, integrity and now, gratitude
I have done these daily word/concept reflections/reviews before. One year with mindfulness and another with compassion, and I believed they made a difference to my inner life. I also did “integrity” one year, but I was less than satisfied with my performance. It’s hard to be absolutely honest all year without falling into the trap of polite, social lies and carefully packaged versions of “the truth”! Also really hard to put values into action all the time. But integrity certainly is a worthy pursuit, and I will try it again another year. But now, it’s time for gratitude.
Why? Because I can see how mindfulness and compassion were helpful exercises for me personally and they allowed me to grow something for myself that eventually extended to my outer world. This inner work shifted my course offerings in a slightly new direction: towards helping people involved in social change groups or community projects to work in more sustainable ways and be healthy and happy doing this work for the long-haul, which is something we need now more than ever before, and something I want to be grateful for.
The “accident” of Trump in the White House, Brexit, a conservative government re-seated in Spain after a year without a government, and so many more “accidents” in every corner of the world: hurrah and gratitude! The conditions are ripening, groups are maturing and one way or another change is coming; and for that I’m grateful.