Throughout the year I find that I cycle through various states of being. I most often find myself on the introverted side, a bit low and fraught by anxious thoughts. Sometimes my mind will circle around and around something until it is completely frayed and worn and only then will it move on. I need to be doing something, I should be doing something, but what? I do a little of this, a little of that, but don't focus on anything for very long. I've been beginning to think that I really don't know how to complete anything. Maybe I'm afraid to complete things because it will mean having to move on to the next thing.
All of this is punctuated by great highs and intense joy. This never really lasts long, it comes then goes.
The best times for me are when I cycle back to gratitude. I love that feeling. There are times when I am overwhelmed with gratitude - to the depths; profoundly grateful for my life as it is. I feel balanced and aware and appreciative for everything. This feeling came to me early this morning in the dark even while the dogs snored and a cat yowled outside; even though the warmth of my husband's body made the extra blanket unnecessary, it made me have to shed the shirt I slept in. I had to get up for water and make my way down the hall, wincing when the floorboard creaked underfoot.
I returned to bed and laid awake in the dark. My husband startled and asked from his dreams, "Is everybody in?" which made a wave of gratitude wash over me; to think that even in his sleep he tends us, all of us and how lucky I am to have someone tend to me even in that groggy state.
I wanted to tell him right then thank you for going to the job that gave us health insurance so I could get my knee fixed, thank you for working Christmas Eve, thank you for managing our money down to the last penny, thank you for carrying bags of compost that have become too heavy for me, for critiquing my photos, for hemming my pants.
I wanted to call my friend and thank her for being my best, best friend for so long even though we are miles apart and our lives seem outwardly so different but we know who we really are without the husband, the kids, the dogs. It's good to have that person that acts as your constant, your horizon line.
My gratitude never follows the conventional schedule where we all give thanks in November. I can shrink from the holidays, they can pass by meaningless. I resent being imposed upon by a calendar, that daunting block of days staring at me with its rigid squares. I'd rather be swept away by the swell of gratitude that takes me at 4 a.m.
It's my truest prayer. It's never cynical. I feel most at peace when I cycle back to gratitude.