“True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not.”
-- Lucius Annaeus Seneca
This week I chose to write of gratitude, while thinking of the recent devastating events that happened at the Boston Marathon and how many lives were lost, or forever damaged without a moment's notice.
I felt compelled to bring it back to an inner-most feeling that we all have, yet one that seems to escape us and get lost in the daily hustle and bustle of life.
Every morning when you wake up, what are you thinking? What are you feeling? Like most (me included!), I’m thinking about what the day ahead looks like. How many activities do we have going on? Does the day include grocery shopping? What time are we going to the dog park with Archer? Can I fit in a 3-mile run, or perhaps a 6-miler?
Almost every piece of my brain is accompanied by thoughts of what has to get done in this short
amount of time, so it’s easy to forget gratitude.
Be grateful for your health, for the food and beverages you might have in your fridge. For the
clothing you have in your closet or dresser. For the frozen yogurt you pick up on a hot day. For
the husband and/or wife who work long hours, to provide all of these things for their family.
It’s so easy to get caught up in our stresses and worries that we miss our children making up new games or songs to sing. We miss being able to see the pure joy on their faces when they’ve learned a new phrase, or how to count to 10. I know, because I’ve been there.
For me, yoga has been a practice that really helps me balance my life and innermost feelings.
I have sporadically practiced yoga since the age of 19, and I have recently re-awakened the joy and gratitude I feel when yoga is a part of my weekly routine.
Yoga helps me to quiet my mind (because like most parents, it rumbles and whizzes 24 hours a day!). I focus on my breathing, zero in on any tension or stress I may be carrying around, and learn to release it. Yoga helps me to be in the moment and bring everything that is most important back into my perspective.
Today during my morning class, I thought about how fortunate I am to stay at home with my 2-year old daughter while my husband works crazy hours in a high-stress environment to provide for us. How thankful I am that we’re all in relatively good health.
I took a long moment to be grateful that even though we’ve had numerous struggles and financial hardships, we always, always find some way to rise above. I credit this to so many people who are in my life that have been in similar predicaments -- family members, friends, acquaintances. Yet despite the hardships they’ve faced, they stay strong and positive. They don’t let these situations shake their spirit. Their tenacity and drive is what keeps them moving forward, with hearts full of gratitude.
Why live your life any other way? We all know how short it can be, or how sudden things can change. Change is the only consistent thing in this world.
Take a small portion of your day, whether it is upon waking up or at the end of the day -- or even
in the car as you’re out running errands -- and take the time to be grateful. Take the time to say thank
you. Make an effort to tell your loved ones how much they mean to you. Send a text message,
an email or make a quick phone call.
Want for nothing. Do not spend endless hours striving for perfection. Perfection is sitting right
in front of you. As my late grandmother said to her children, and they passed down to my generation; “Everyone is perfect in their own way.”
When you make gratitude a part of your daily life, you end up lighter, a little happier and you know that no matter what may happen during the day, you’ve said your thanks and you can smile at that. You can smile at the imperfections in your life and embrace every crazy, stressful moment a little easier.
Yes, my daughter can drive me bonkers with her constant high energy. However, I know this
means she’s healthy, active and simply can find so much joy in life! I sure learn a lot from her.
My 5-month-old husky puppy is pretty much the same high-energy as my daughter, and after a
long romp at the dog park, he’s the best cuddle bug ever (aside from my husband, of course).
These simple joys, these small fleeting moments, are what make my life whole. They make days
spent being tired or slightly stressed full with so much happiness and laughter. And for that, I
am forever grateful.
To Boston, and everyone else affected by the recent events, my heart goes out to all of you. May you find peace and a quiet strength to carry you through this tragedy. As a runner myself and a part of Mom’s RUN This Town, we will keep running for Boston and the lives forever changed that day -- and we will keep running for each other.
Jane Walker is a Menifee resident, a wife and mother of a 2-year-old girl. Every Thursday, she shares her experiences as a Menifee mom. Jane welcomes your comments here.