I've started an admittedly cheesy but entirely worthwhile habit: Spending a couple of minutes every night recalling a few things from the day for which I am grateful. This is not an even remotely original idea and if you really must know I got it from someone I heard on Oprah.
That's right, Oprah. I mean the woman must be doing something right, don't you think?
So anyway -- it seemed a good idea to me, this notion of purposely reflecting back on the good rather than the bad. I mean dwelling on the negative is a no-brainer, something I can fall into like a soft leather easy chair: comfortable, familiar, inviting. My mind lands there almost in spite of itself but I really have to wonder why, because it certainly doesn't do the rest of my body any favors. Knots in my stomach, a clenched jaw, tight shoulders, and a headache every night are not exactly the way I like to wrap up my day. But that's just what I've managed to do on more nights than I care to remember.
The interesting side effect is that I find myself a lot more mindful all day long of the many small things for which I truly am grateful. A particularly funny response from a three year old, puffy white clouds morphing across the sky, a freshly swept floor, an unexpected note from a friend -- all of these things really are fantastic if you think about them. All those little joys there for the taking, but only if you take the time to appreciate them.
Right now I am filthy, covered literally from head to toe in dust and dirt and pollen, but I couldn't be happier. It's my merit badge for a day well-spent, enjoying the sun and the breeze with my family and working the earth to finally realize years of dreams for this home of ours. I'm hungry after a day of working in a way that my desk job doesn't allow, but I'm thankful. The physical effort is a gift to my body. I'm tired, but I'm content. These weary bones have a cozy bed and soft pillow to crawl into tonight and are sure to get all the rest they need before another day begins tomorrow.
I'm filthy and hungry and tired, and couldn't be more grateful for it. What a blessing.