It’s been almost a month since I last blogged. That wasn’t the plan, but then, life so rarely seems to go according to plan.
It hasn’t been an easy month. Lots of lessons, lots of conflicts in relationships, lots of student loan payments, lots of hopes and dreams that seemed within reach starting to feel impossible. And over and over, I’ve sat down to write a new post, and found myself staring at a blank screen.
I don’t believe in “writer’s block”. I believe sometimes a particular piece of writing needs to move to the back burner, to simmer while I write something else, but generally I can manage to write something, anything. Only this time, I let myself get stuck.
I let myself get stuck, not only in my writing, but in my life. I clung to dreams that weren’t manifesting, instead of letting them pass gracefully. I started to complain. I complained about my job. I complained about my apartment. I complained about my clothes and my body and my hair and my relationships. Sometimes out loud, but often just internally, I complained. I let discontent take root in my heart, and, like all invasive plants, it spread quickly and took over.
Today, I got a simple reminder to return to gratitude. A Facebook challenge from a friend to list 3 things I’m thankful for every day for a week. This challenge, and ones like it, have been spreading all over my newsfeed lately, and I suppose I knew it was only a matter of time before the challenge came my way…but when it did, it was a sudden clarity.
I want to always live in gratitude. I know this. Longing for things to be different from what they are never brings about the changes I want, it only makes me unhappy. I want to root out the discontent, and let gratitude grow in its place.
There’s a shrub I’ve come to love, called japanese knotweed. It’s one of my favorites – an absolutely stunning mix of large, dark green leaves and tiny, off-white flowers. Around here, during August and September, it’s everywhere. I mean, everywhere. It’s an invasive plant, and so it takes over and just grows. And I’ve decided to make it my reminder to be in gratitude: that every time I see it, I will remember how discontent can so easily spread like an invasive shrub, and how gratitude can grow just as abundantly.
I am grateful for my job: for my boss who supports me in creative problem solving, for the paycheck that covers my bills, for the responsibility I’ve been handed and my growing ability to handle it. I am grateful for my apartment: for the high ceilings and many windows, for the art and pictures all over that make it home, for the shelter from rain and snow, and the privilege it is to live in such a beautiful area. I am grateful for words, for the ability to play with them, and the chance to share them. I am grateful.
May this be my mantra, day after day, minute after minute – a mantra of gratitude. May I never forget, and when I do, may a glimpse of japanese knotweed remind me…
I am grateful.
What are you grateful for, today?