Last night I couldn’t sleep, but unlike most sleepless nights, I didn’t get out of bed. I decided to stay in the warmth of two layers of comforters and try to fall deep into the land of dreams. However, I didn’t. I started thinking about my gratitude practice.
Day after day, week after week and month after month, my list seemed to look familiar. I am always profoundly grateful for my husband, for his job, for the benefits of his job (healthcare), and for the care he takes in making sure our house runs smoothly, and I that I am okay. I am also grateful for things like our health (although not perfect), faith, joy.
Last night, I found myself asking, “What else are you thankful for?’ And my reply surprised me. I started listing things like the mattress topper that provides a layer of squishy softness that keeps my back and hips from hurting, the soft new flannel sheets we bought from Target, having a pillow cradle my head, the fact that we can sleep with our window open in January. I went on and on listing the things right around me that make my life what it is and provide me the level of comfort I am used to (so used to that I hardly see or notice it).
After going through dozens of things I am grateful for, I imagined myself in a room with one bowl, one spoon, one house dress, some rice, some beans, and a mat for a bed. I imagined if those were my only possessions, I would be deeply grateful and highly aware of each one. How much more is in my house, though? I have hundreds of books lining shelves and covering the tops of tables. I have Two televisions with Netflix and a Smartphone. The books alone open whole worlds for me, Netflix and the Smartphone connect me to almost every place on the planet.
All of this and I haven’t even given thanks or considered things like touch, hearing, sight, taste, smell. Almost giddy at this point, I say out loud to a dark room on a sleepless night, “Walking. Even though I have a significant limp, I love walking.” And then I realized since April of 2018 I have practiced gratitude on a daily basis, and all these months later that daily practice just exploded inside of me like a jacaranda tree in full purple boom. I knew for certain that in 2019 I would need much less and probably feel much better.
Enough. Grateful. Thankful. Overflowing. The list never ends.
The sun is shining through my window, and I’m going on no sleep but the palm branches swaying in the breeze look beautiful and calming. Overhead there is a hawk circling and probably hunting. I’ve been hunting too, for radical gratitude, which seems to have captured me in the middle of the night unaware and unexpecting.