It’s easy to feel grateful, given my charmed life. Excellent COVID-free health, a successful law firm, a loving life partner. End of day entries in the gratitude journal flow:
Even at the end of a challenging day, there’s plenty.
What doesn’t make the list:
Wind chill of twenty below
Power outage to start the day
Double booked appointments
I fail to feel grateful for the events and circumstances that invite me to look at the ways I’m being, that I’d rather not see. Like these:
Entitled: “I should have electricity without interruption 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year.”
Critical: “I hate the sound of howling wind.”
Impatient: “I’ve texted her repeatedly with no response. Come on—check your phone!”
I may not speak the words, but I think the thoughts. Weather beyond my control, a single hour of inconvenience, embarrassment for my mistakes—all unappreciated moments.
My memory is short and my learning slow.
I forget how an early unhappy marriage taught me to not blame others for my unhappiness and to examine my own flaws first.
I forget how feedback that once evoked tears of shame made me a better lawyer, coach, and human.
I forget how watching my brother on his deathbed taught me that life is 10,000 sorrows and 10,000 joys and everything is impermanent.
When it’s time for my bedtime ritual tonight, I hope I can remember the gifts of my least favorite moments in a day along with my delicious dinner of pad Thai. By shining a little night light on the other side of all I can be grateful for, I can see better and hopefully sleep better.
One more blessing to add to the list.
Do you have a gratitude practice?
What have been the gifts of your past hardship, failure, or disappointment?
How can one learn to be grateful for all of life’s experiences?