Saturday, December 17, 2011
Bah Humbug, with a side of gratitude
I have been feeling decidedly Grinchy the last few days. Not at all full of Christmas cheer, much less love and joy and to you your wassail too. But as you know, we attended a women's conference last week and one of the speakers was Brene Brown. She gave a superb talk full of truth and integrity. One of the things she said that struck me deeply was that happiness begins with gratitude. This wasn't exactly news to me, as I've read her book and many others that say this. What she said that really resonated was that people who have happiness practice gratitude. She said, "Practice gratitude even if you don't feel it." As a former dancer, I understood this in my bones. I would train every day whether I felt like it or not, because that's what it meant to be a dancer. And I had been stumbling with the gratitude thing--despite the fact that everyone, including researchers studying this very topic, like Brene Brown, said that it was the key to joy--because most of the time, I don't feel grateful. It felt very cerebral and downright irritating to list things I was grateful for when what I was really feeling was annoyed. But somehow it clicked with me when she said to practice it anyway. You don't have to feel like it, just cultivate the habit, because the habit is what leads to the goal you want. (Outstanding dance ability or happiness, both take diligent, disciplined practice.)
I can't say I have done that consistently since I've been back, but here's one little attempt. On the trip, Emily gave me my Christmas present early. It was a camera. A much nicer camera than I've ever had. This is sooo very exciting, not because I'm any sort of photographer, but because I'm not a photographer and yet have to take pictures on a regular basis, of products for our company, for this blog, of my kids. Suddenly, I point this camera at the same things I used to shoot, in the same way, and they just look better. It's awesome. So, tonight I pulled it out and just decided to take a few shots of things I can be grateful for this week, and to try to practice a little gratitude and Christmas cheer even if I don't feel like it.
I have at least decorated my house somewhat, and I have to admit these little pops of spirit do help me feel a little more in the season.
So, for Brene Brown and for Emily, I am grateful.
For my family, I am oh so grateful.
For our jobs and our home and our Christmas tree, I am grateful.
For the chance to learn and do better, I am grateful.
For having a heater that works and a warm soft bed that I love to climb into, I am grateful.
I am grateful for Christmas.
I am grateful for all of you.
There. Bah humbug and thank you.