Gratitude is a sweet word. Looks real pretty when you see it on a piece of paper, and if you say it slowly, kinda rolls off the tongue. It’s also a word loaded with a lot of stuff. A lot of being ready…..
I had two trips planned for late March, and early April. The first one, spring break with my husband and kids. A road trip like the ones I took as a kid, but this time we were riding in style, you know the crumb filled SUV vs. the cramped Lincoln town car we took when I was growing up. My kids SHOULD be grateful they are riding in style, and have space, without their siblings elbow in one ear, and fast food leftovers in the other. And I SHOULD be grateful we can all be together. My second trip was a girls weekend in Arizona, sitting by the pool, enjoying some self care and spa time, and attempting to hike a mountain….that is a whole other blog post. I, in this case SHOULD be grateful for the time, ability to go away, and beautiful friends to share sun and laughter for two full days, while the rest of my family is at home ripping and running to get to school and activities. As you can see, SHOULD is the stand out word in all these cases.
As a human being, we spend a lot of time planning for things, events that SHOULD evoke memories, good feelings, and moments of kindness to ourselves to others, but most often the “UGH,” and “ARGH” take over.
Gratitude is a sweet word, yes, but also a word that by definition is “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” How do you interpret meaning? I have always thought of gratitude to be projected onto another, not often onto myself or my own experiences. And to be honest at times, trying to find the “appreciation,” in something that also can trigger stress in planning, and in the pocket book can be difficult. We often tell our children they should be grateful or appreciative of events, but our modeling as adults does not always go hand in hand. Gratitude begins and ends with us, and looking deep into the word and meaning, begins to ask the question, “are you kind to yourself, your experiences.” and “am I thankful for the moment?”
Both of my experiences were wonderful, filled with laughter and spontaneous moments, and experiences that pictures on Instagram couldn’t do justice. I loved every bit of each, but was not filled with gratitude, and definitely did not show kindness to myself the way I show it to those I love or clients I work to support. This takes practice, to stay in the moment, capture memories, and emotions that are simple and related to the action without getting caught up in the next thing, or how I feel about myself. I realized in both these experiences, our moments of gratitude are our moments. They are taking the time to not capture photos to prove to facebook ” I am having fun,” but to prove to self that I can connect in moments of stress, in moments of frustration to those things that also bring love, laughter, and self awareness. I am thankful for the stress of planning and moments of laughter that bind me to myself and others because I was present, and showing myself kindness because I was out there, appreciating the time and experience. We are not always ready or prepared, most times we won’t be, but in taking the time to be available, be thankful, kind, to ourselves for showing up… those are moments of true gratitude.