"If you want to turn your life around, try thankfullness. It will change your life mightily." ~Gerald Good
A few weeks ago, I came down with a bad case of the "blahs". Anything and everything was adding to them: the end of summer, trying to sell a house in NJ for I can't even remember how long at this point, hectic work schedule, etc... Nothing catastrophic was happening, things were just stagnant. Then something amazing happened:
Walter and Acha came to town.
I was really looking forward to Africa Yoga Project's Handstands, Hugs, & Highways Tour stop at Mystic. I never met anyone from Kenya before so I was excited to meet Walter and Acha. While we were at the studio making final preparations for their visit, the excitement just kept building. When Michele arrived and introduced us, I stuck out my hand, expecting just a handshake. Walter said hugs were part of the tour name and pulled me right in for one. Acha did the same. Hugs, not handshakes. And they weren't the kind of meaningless hugs you might get from a great aunt's third cousin you barely know. No. They hugged like they had known you forever and, for that moment, you were the most important person in the room.
When they were sharing their stories, I was in absolute awe at how yoga changed and ultimately saved their lives. Rather than settling for a life living on the streets, using drugs, and stealing, they dedicated their life to yoga. And as a result, they get to travel the world, sharing their stories and their practice along the way. The tone of their voices and expressions on their faces made it clear how grateful they were to be doing what they do.
One of the biggest things I took away from their visit was to always be thankful. After hearing their stories, I really took a good look at myself. Good things are always happening, sometimes you just have to squint your eyes a little harder to see them. I decided to turn the donation jar for the AYP visit into a Gratitude Jar so I could have physical reminders of everything I have to be thankful for when the old doom and gloom attitude comes knocking again. I keep the jar on my desk and have squares of paper ready to go when I think of something I can add. It doesn't matter what it is, from the serious stuff (health, parents, boyfriend, my greyhounds, the awesome support I have during teacher training) to the silly stuff (bubble wrap, those sensors on new traffic lights that don't have you sitting at a red light forever anymore!) - it all counts!!!!
It's been less than 2 weeks, but the jar is quickly filling up. Just seeing it and all the pieces of paper in there lifts my spirits. Most of the time, I find it hard to just write one thing down; one thought leads to another and another and before I know it I'm thinking of things to be grateful for faster than I can write them down. I can feel a shift in my attitude. It's really quite amazing! If you are reading this and feel like you can relate to the "blahs" or a less than stellar attitude, I highly recommend starting a Gratitude Jar of your own. You might just amaze yourself!