“You’ve already gone farther than you used to dream of going.” – Mike Dooley, Tut’s Universe
I love this quote because it reminds me to look at my current life with a sense of context. It’s not about “Why am I not already at my destination?” That will NEVER lead me to happiness or a sense of contentment.
It’s way more fun to think… “Look at where I am at now, as compared to where I used to be… or where I THOUGHT I might be waaaaay back when.”
I like to have a thankful attitude, for all of life’s crazy twists-and-turns and obstacles-overcome and lessons-learned. It gives me a sense of hope and freedom-from-stress about the future.
So allllll this time I spend plotting and planning and anticipating what will bring me happiness in the future is really for naught... lol… yeah, I know that life will unfold the way it will, even with all my best intentions… and THANK GOODNESS! Because I think the way things have turned out so far is waaaaay better than I could have dreamed. So I don’t sweat it so much anymore.
I have survived these first 30 years (the good, the bad, the embarrassing, etc.) and I am able to be happy… even though the circumstances of my life NOW are never what I had anticipated they would be… I still have the ability to choose happiness.
I try to move toward what makes me feel good in my life today and away from things that don’t make me feel good. Don't get me wrong, I’m not looking for instant pleasure. Rather, I aim for lasting satisfaction. But even long-term satisfaction starts with feeling good now about myself now and my choices now and my life now.
My mantra is…
I love to be doing only that which is truly good for me.
And when I am actually living my mantra, my life feels super awesome… guaranteed.
Because when I am being good to myself, more goodness starts flowing into my life. Sounds a little woo-woo, perhaps, but in my experience, I have found it to be absolutely true…as true as the sky is blue above the clouds.
So in the interest of taking stock of the awesomeness that I daily experience, but often ignore, I am going to write out the top 7 things I am grateful for today. Why 7? That’s my lucky number. And I am a very, very lucky girl/woman/person.
“A little gratitude goes a long way.” – Lena Stevens, ThePower Path
1. My body. It feels great to have a body. The way warm water slides along the skin in the shower or the way a cool breeze tickles the hair on your arms, the relief of a great exhale of breath or the way the earth feels gritty and solid beneath your toes. Sensations are amazing. The body, especially one that is free from pain, is such a gift.
2. Financial independence. Historically, many women have been supported financially by their families or husbands, as a common practice. However, because of the freedoms of our modern society, women in America are able to be the breadwinners for themselves. When I was finally able to pay my bills all on my own, without being dependent on anyone else for any financial assistance… this felt like a HUGE accomplishment for me and gave me a huge sense of personal pride. It feels AMAZING to be able to pay my rent all on my own and know that my financial decisions are mine and mine alone. Hard-earned lesson, but soooo worth it. Liberating.
3. Loving and supportive friends. I have made an effort in recent years to be very careful and selective about who I spend my time with and who I trust my heart with and who I allow myself to be vulnerable with. People that are caring and fun and support me in my mantra (see above), tend to stay around and we grow together as humans and learn how to love and support each other more and more!… And those that don’t fit that description… well, I let them go... with love and best wishes.
4. New York. This city has been the most challenging partner I’ve ever encountered in life. That song lyric, “If you can make it here, you’ll make it anywhere…” Um… yeah… That is TRUE… Not because New York is MEAN or something. It’s not. It’s awesome! It’s just that it’s intense to live here. There’s a lot of humans living in a very small amount of space and there’s so much going on all the time and it totally challenges you psychologically. How do people learn to handle all this constant stimuli and the crowds and the opportunity and the disappointment and the need to rest and be renewed? How to find a way to balance all of that and still remain in-touch with your unique essence? There's no "right" answer. Everyone's got to find their own. That’s why that song lyric is so freakin’ true. If you can survive New York and still manage to remain YOU… Wow… You are one flexible/strong human being.
5. My day-job. I don’t talk a ton about my day-job on this blog. Mostly because… I know that I will have to leave it, if/when I do get into grad school and that makes me a little sad, I must admit. I am very well-suited to my current work. I love my bosses. I look forward to being there every day. My contributions are appreciated. I am well-compensated. I get to travel occasionally. It’s not stressful and it’s fun. Truly… my experience at this job has given me so much confidence and joy… I know I will always look back on it as one of the best times of my life. It’s helped to give me the courage to continue on my current trajectory and for that I will always, always be grateful.
6. Giving teachers. I have been a sponge for learning in the past several years, soaking up knowledge from people and books and experiences… where ever I can get it. I am soooo grateful for all of my teachers, both formal and informal, for sharing their thoughts/experiences/lives with me. I love learning from other people’s stories and allowing them to inspire my own. I especially admire their courage to speak up and share, in spite of their fears. I have benefited from their acts of courage in ways that they will never know.
7. This blog. This blog… has given me a voice. Well, I guess I’ve always had a voice… but I didn’t necessarily feel like I had the right to speak up… or that anyone would give a flying-f*#k about what I thought. And by giving myself the challenge to really check-in daily and write candidly about my process… well, I feel like I am benefiting from the experience waaaaaay more than anyone else is! And the fact that this is blog post number 32… and I’m still going… and that there’s somebody out there that’s actually reading this?! That’s CRAZY/AWESOME. I’ve currently got 77 email subscribers! That’s insane to me…That I press “send” and that little action sends my rantings to 77 people’s inboxes… for them to promptly delete… or maybe READ. Whew! Very cool.
Anyhoo, life is literally awesome when you really take stock of it. So I encourage you to take a minute and write out your top 7… or 12… or 262 things that you’re grateful for today. There is sooooo much good in this world and so much to be grateful for and so much more unanticipated awesomeness yet to come.
Thanks for reading.
“If you look for what’s right – in others, in relationships, in yourself and your journey – you’ll always find it… Same when looking for what’s wrong.” – Mike Dooley, Tut’s Universe