"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others."
Cicero's sentiment is one we are all feeling right now. You have only to see the videos of the nightly rituals of making noise at 7:00 pm to thank the healthcare workers in New York City to agree we are big on gratitude these days.
And we have so many people to be grateful for.
Think of this display of gratitude we are seeing in so many places as a side effect of the global pandemic and the upending of our usual daily lives. It is one of the good things that has come from this. It is a good thing to remember and be grateful for all the people keeping our lives going while we are staying safe and following the guidelines.
Real gratitude opens the heart and an open heart is one that is at peace with itself. It isn't about what you have or don't have - it is a state of mind that connects your soul-self to the greater flow of divine blessings. You can have gratitude even in the most difficult of circumstances, like the one we collectively find ourselves in now, and that might be when it is most needed.
While you may not be able to summon up a big platter of gratitude for a trying situation you can still, in that moment, open your heart to gratitude for the smallest of things. For even in the most difficult situation you may have a friend supporting you by dropping off food. You may smell the scent of a beautiful flower. You may see streaks of sunlight across an evening sky.
Remember that any difficulty, whatever it might be, doesn't define who you are - that in those moments who you are is an incomparable being of love and light. In those moments you are divinely guided, protected and cared for.
Here are some things that I am expressing gratitude for right now:
1. I have a comfortable bed that is so warm and cozy on chilly nights.
2. I am grateful for chocolate in all its forms - oh, yes I am!
3. I am grateful for my sister, my nieces and nephews, my cousins, friends and colleagues - I have a truly rich family of love and support.
4. I am grateful that I have the time to watch a favorite series and not feel I have to rush to 'do' something productive.
5. I am grateful that I get to write this BLOG post.
As you can see, there are countless things to be grateful for - profound and silly, important and mundane. Your entire life can change if you can look at it through the lens of gratitude.
You may not be able to do much to change the current situation right now but what you can do is focus on being grateful. That is the choice you have and it is a truly powerful one.
This week I invite you to join me by putting a focus on gratitude.
Stay in. Stay well. Stay safe.
As I was cleaning and dusting today with my rubber gloves and disinfectant spray, I kept feeling that I may not be doing this whole stay at home thing right.
Why? Well, I have yet to figure out a schedule for myself - instead lurching from working too long, to binges of Netflix, to eating, to cleaning, to thinking about when my next trip to the grocery store may be and if my mask is the right kind, and back to working to repeat some version of the cycle again in no particular order.
I know it's probably not true but as I look at social media and reports on TV, it seems that most people have managed not only to be highly creative during this time but also to exercise, educate, cook like the Barefoot Contessa and sing like Broadway stars.
A friend remarked recently that she isn't nearly productive as she thought she would be with all this time on her hands and that she feels guilty not doing more. It seems even when we are literally doing nothing, we worry that others may do nothing better than we do.
All this time to contemplate your life can be stressful. Most people I know before we were house-bound, were wishing for more time - time away from work, time to rest, time to relax and time to just do nothing. And here we are.
Maybe the situation we find ourselves in suffers in comparison to the images of all the essential workers out there working to exhaustion. This time has been a major awakening. I know I will never go to the grocery store again without mentally (and often verbally) thanking the cashiers, without noticing the people stocking the shelves and the delivery drivers, without saying a silent thank you to my postal workers, the woman at the drive-up window of my bank and so many more, including of course all the health care workers.
So, as I decide whether or not I need my latex gloves along with my mask before I go downstairs to use the shared laundry in my building, I do so giving myself permission to feel a bit disoriented, as if I've stepped into a surreal landscape that has shapes and boundaries yet to be determined.
When what needs to be known remains unknown, we are forced back into the present - the only place that truly exists. This week I invite you to join me in the messy present - get comfortable with it, make it your own and know there is no standard you need to meet to get through this time.
Stay in. Stay well. Stay safe.