Lately I have found myself struggling with a nagging feeling of discontentment, though no conceivable reason can be found for such a feeling. Most noticeably, I feel as though I never quite want to be where I am, always looking forward to or wishing I were doing something else. At breakfast with my girls in the morning, I wish they would hurry up and finish so that we could get on to the next thing. With them at forest school, I get fidgety and bored because instead of "getting things done," I'm stuck digging holes, playing dress-up, or looking at birds and bugs. At the park, I wish they would just play on their own so I could read. I'm not sure how I got stuck in that rut, but last night I figured it out. The antidote to the spreading virus of discontent that has been plaguing my (by all accounts, richly blessed) life:
Here's what the three examples above look like when viewed through the rosy lenses of gratitude:
Because I don't work outside the home, and my kids don't go to traditional school, I am free to let them wake up naturally in the morning and enjoy a leisurely breakfast with them. We can read books and enjoy each other's company, while learning about how to savor a meal together. GRATEFUL.
We live in a huge, metropolitan city with all its cultural and educational benefits. Since my kids don't get to spend extended, uninterrupted time outside in nature, we found a school that takes place in a nearby nature preserve, where Anne goes twice a week, just to play outside with other kids and get comfortable with the wild and free outdoors. So important for a city kid. And since Easter, Eleanor and I have joined, giving me time to focus on her and just be at leisure to play in the beautiful springtime forest. GRATEFUL.
My girls want me to play. I get to be with them. I get to see their faces full of smiles, and hear their peals of laughter when I push them higher on the swings or chase them and tickle them, I get to see them jump and slide, run and dance. We get to go on impromptu adventures anytime we want! And because I'm home with them, I don't have to miss these things. GRATEFUL.
I'm not saying it won't be hard sometimes, or that I won't ever feel like I'm gritting my teeth and barely making it to bedtime. I am saying that most of the things that arise in my heart and come out of my mouth complaints could be turned on their heads by the simple addition of gratitude. A subtle shift in how I see my world, a huge impact on whether or not I enjoy my life.
Usually we set aside November as a month for gratitude, but I think I need a reboot. Would you join me? I need help and community. Please share your practical ways to a grateful heart in the comments, and join me in a #gratefuljune on Facebook and Instagram, so that we can savor each moment of this life together!