I have been thinking more about gratitude lately, and I realized it took me my entire life to understand it is a practice.
When I talk about gratitude, I’m not talking about the fleeting, forgettable joy we feel when someone does something nice for us. I’m also not talking about the more obvious sense of relief we experience when something goes our way. I’m talking about an observant kind of gratitude — the ability to accept the “tiny beautiful things” that happen, even when it’s been a shit day, or a shit week, or a shit month, or a shit year, and nothing seems beautiful.
It seems gratitude is a powerful salve during times of misery, confusion, and anxiety. However, these states also have a way of making these “tiny beautiful things” appear out of reach, or worse, undeserved.
Cheryl Strayed (as the beloved “Sugar”) said it best in her “Dear Sugar” column at The Rumpus as she relayed advice she would tell her “twenty-something self” :
"One hot afternoon during the era in which you’ve gotten yourself ridiculously tangled up with heroin you will be riding the bus and thinking what a worthless piece of crap you are when a little girl will get on the bus holding the strings of two purple balloons. She’ll offer you one of the balloons, but you won’t take it because you believe you no longer have a right to such tiny beautiful things. You’re wrong. You do."
My twenty-something self needed this reminder, so in honor of this sentiment, I thought it would be apt to pass along a few of my own purple balloons in an effort to both recognize them and acknowledge that I do, indeed, have a right to them. Here is what I am thankful for this week:
What are some things you're grateful for?
Until next time,