12 September 2009

Dare to...Count Your Blessings

"The moment one gives close attention to any thing, even a blade of grass it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself." ~Henry Miller

(Photo credit: ecstaticist on Flickr)

The next stop on the Meiji Stewart's ABC writings, is the letter C...and you are invited to count your blessings along with me.

There really is no way to completely count all the blessings that life affords us each and every day. How can you quantify it? I have seen what it is like when someone forgets to pay attention to the blessings that are present all the time. That is where the woe-is-me creeps in, the sense that there is nothing worth doing or seeing or experiencing. That is just plain sad.

So instead of counting my blessings, I choose to be mindful of them.

A few years ago, I was fed up one day. I had had enough. Every single thing that could go wrong seemingly did. I wanted to throw in the towel, drive home and crawl back in bed. And that fed-uppedness spilled over into the whole of my day. Has that ever happened to you? Of course, it has. Your car won't start. You spill your coffee on your new outfit. You drop your daughter off at school and before you leave she realizes that she forgot to bring her pajamas for pajama day and stares at you with that quivering lip {actually happened}.

That one bad event seems to start a chain reaction...or does it?

What I have come to realize is that when I let that first unfortunate event push me over the edge my life has a tendency to spiral out of control. Instead of just laughing about it and chalking it up to just another day in paradise, your day takes a turn for the worst and no amount of resuscitation can salvage it.

Does anyone remember the racetrack ride at Disneyworld? The one with the metal track under the car? I remember when I was a kid that this was one ride I couldn't wait to get on. Perhaps it was becuase I felt so grown up that I would be allowed to drive a car at the tender age of seven even though I couldn't quite reach all the pedals. It felt as if I were going so fast I would crash for sure with the other cars. I thought it was hilarious to weave back and forth and slam into the bar only to be jerked back in the opposite direction. That is what it feels like when I greet the day with negativity and an ain't-no-reason-to-be-happy attitude. My life feels jerked all over the place and while I won't actually crash and burn, I certainly don't feel like I am following the path that I ought.

At the end of every blog post, blog comment, email and the like you may have noticed that I add to my signature, "Enjoy the day." It has become a sort of signature phrase of mine. In fact I find it hard to just write my name...it sort of naturally flows from my fingers. It is in reference to one of my very favorite quotes...

"Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day."

On that day with the car trouble and the coffee stain and the race to the nearest Target to pick up a clearance pair of pajamas for my crying first grader so she wouldn't be left out of a day of pajama wearing fun {actually happened}, I was greeted by a perky sales clerk who was all too chipper for that early in the morning, and didn't she know that I was having the worst kind of day? As she handed me my change she chimed, "Have a great day!" Now, there was no way that she could have known my predicament, but this actually made me mad. How could I possibly have a great day with all that I had to deal with? So how did I react...that was just one more in a line of small papercut sized issues that now felt like a big ol' open sore.

When I stumbled upon the quote, it really hit home with me. Not every day is a great day, and not every day is a bad day. But there is something good in every day and I can enjoy it despite the worst of times. And that resonated with me.

I actively seek a "something good" each day, but what I have found is that I don't really have to search too hard. These "something goods" just seem to find me. Or maybe I am just open to the possiblity that they exist. And lest you think me Pollyanna-ish and my life is all a bed of roses, let me assure you it is not. It is just that I choose to count my blessings.

While I don't actively "count" my blessings {as there are certainly more than I can count}, I do believe in being open to the possibility that there is "something good" in every day.

What is a "something good" that has come into your life in the last week? Don't forget to recall the little things that you may overlook...and count your blessings. Do tell!

Check It Out::The Jungle of Life

Please go and read the link above. My friend Lance has a very inspirational blog called the Jungle of Life. A few weeks ago he gave me my "something good" for the day when he asked me if my quote about opportunity would be his Sunday Thought of the Day. I am excited that he has chosen to honor me in this manner. Lance is a great friend whom I met solely through his blog and I treasure his insights. I have been so moved by the things that he has written and the authors and artists and other inspirational people that he has opened my eyes to. I encourage you to find a "something good" in the The Jungle of Life.

Enjoy the day!


Sherry said...

Erin this is beautiful. There is "good" in every day -- you just have to look. I also agree...counting our blessings could go on and on and on...and then what if we forget one or two?? Being "mindful" of our blessings, now that is something that we can encourage ourselves to do every single day...to be mindful.

I find I have days like you've described when I "allow" myself to have no control. It isn't some alien in the universe taking over my body...it's me...not being "mindful". As you described, it seems like things begin to spiral out of control.

I've had a few days like this this past week -- nothing "major" has happened it's all been a cumulative effect of little things. But when I stopped and became aware, became mindful, I knew that it was my choice to regain control and not to stand back and shrug my shoulders.

Something "good" that came into my life this past week was making a connection. I have a project underway that I was waffling on. I knew what I wanted to do but couldn't get a grasp on it. Then I read someone's blog and because I was mindful, all the little dominoes in my head "clicked" into place!

Lance said...

First off...thank you so much for the wonderfully kind words! And know that having your words on my site is most definitely a "something good" for me. It's been so good getting to know you, and see all the great things you're doing. In fact, I'm looking at the name of your blog here as I type this - and my first thought is "Treasures Found"...I know exactly what the treasure is - it's being here and getting to know you...it really is...So good to know you. Deeply good.

Besides that - yesterday I was off coaching my daughter's U14 coed soccer team. We're a rec team, and with football this fall, we're short players. Well, on Saturday we had our first game. And we had to play the game one player short the whole game. On a very warm Wisconsin morning. And in the end, we lost that game 8-0. There was a "something good" though. All the kids came off the field with their heads held high, for playing without breaks, having fun, and really doing a great job short of a few breakdowns when they were getting tired. And as I left the game, it actually felt "good"... good despite losing, despite not scoring at all.

Erin, thanks again for today! You are an amazing lady and wonderful friend!

Elena_Valeriote said...

A very inspirational post. I just love the blade of grass picture and quote! Thank you

Leslie @ Bei Mondi said...

Something good that has happened in the past week. Hm...

My family is happy and healthy. Yeah, that sounds like something you'd say at Thanksgiving dinner but I truly mean it. My husband had a coworker who's wife passed away last week leaving behind two daughters younger than my own. The sickness was slow and painful and it left her in the hospital for quite a while. I feel somewhat guilty that I still have time with my daughter and I wish I could give some of that to her. So, I am very happy that I have my family and we are in good health.

mairedodd said...

you are absolutely right about finding the good in things/days/situations... it is a choice one makes and makes and makes... and it pays off! thought is power... i agree that you can draw that to you if you are open to it... beautiful post... thanks erin!

Unknown said...

count your blessings...this post comes after such a difficult week...there was a tragic event that occured in our small community last week combined with the memories of 9/11...makes you realize how fortunate you are...Thanks!

Jenners said...

This is a wonderful post! I think it is so easy to let a bunch of little things going wrong to mess up your day ... your mood can just change but when you think about it, so many of the "bad" things we experience in life are just minor nuisances. Having been through a lot of difficult experiences lately, I've been reminded that it is important to find something good in every day and that things that are minor bumps in the road aren't worth getting worked up about. Life is so short to waste it on letting things ruin your day. There is always something good to be found -- even if it is the end of a bad day. thanks for this post!

Jared | SpiritualZen.net said...

Great post, thank you so much! Amazing I found your site today via Lance over at The Jungle of Life, I was just talking about blessings recently myself.

"Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day."

I absolutely love this quote! One thing I've learned is the power of starting my day over at any moment. When I feel the stresses of life creeping up on me, I stop, re-center myself, and simply start my day over. If I'm particular feeling stressed or fearful of something, I stop and write a gratitude list! After years of practicing this it becomes more natural and I don't immediately cuss out loud if I spill coffee on myself (which I do often) but am able to stop myself, realize that it's just my Ego worried about how others will perceive me, and start over by laughing it off and moving on.

I like the Acronym Ego (Easing God Out), whenever I'm frustrated... say with traffic, it means I'm being selfish and self-centered. My time is more important than others. When I'm living in Ego, I'm of no use to others. For example the cashier who wished you a happy day obviously was not in Ego at the moment she was trying to make your day better.

Thanks for reminding us of our blessings!

SummersStudio said...

Erin, counting your blessings and finding the good in each day is wonderful reminder to us all to take the time to notice little things. It seems to me most of our 'bessings' are just little, often quite ordinary things. Little things like the smile of greeting and a nod of the head I received yesterday from a friend who is deeply grieving the recent death of his wife of more than 50 years. For that brief moment I was filled with the joy of living and knowing that life will go on. That our grieving friend will continue in our circle and that we will all cradle the memory of our friend in our hearts. It was such a simple thing this smile and nod. I almost didn't notice it. But it was perhaps the single largest moment of my day. Erin, thank you for taking the time to write so thoughtfully about this.

Silver Parrot said...

What a timely post - I had the mother of all rotten days yesterday and needed to hear this. Oh, and I've been in that same position at school with the lip-quivering kid who forgot his "_______" for "_______ Day" as well. I think one of my biggest blessings is being able to read about other people's experiences and realizing that no, I am NOT the only one going through this and no, I am not crazy LOL!

Wilma Ham said...

It is real important to focus on the good things as it makes the heart strong and in our heart is the wisdom of life.
I agree it is not that hard to have good things in life, it is hard to notice them when things fall apart.
For me the trick is to indeed as you and others said, to stop and notice and practice that noticing.

The more you practice the more you notice and the more good comes to you as the heart attracts good things.

Isn't that great? Simple and profound at the same time.

Love Wilma


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