So I'm re-membering to come back to gratitude.
I recently bought a few books for Anjali from my beloved Zen teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh. I think she likes them - soothing water color illustrations, and calming messages; I probably benefit more than she does from our reading them (what toddler needs to be reminded to be present?? I dare say not one!). And the main message it always comes back to: breathing rocks! As in: I love being alive on this planet in the here and now! Realizing my breath, I come back to the ultimate gratitude: I am alive. Right now, I am alive. Right Now. I Am Alive. I know there is incredible suffering in the world and that my life has been extremely lucky, but my most dire times taught me perhaps more than the cheery ones: I like living. And here and now is what I have. Pain reminds me that I have feelings. Having feelings reminds me that I'm alive. And I like living.
Scott Noelle (at right, under "so grateful for") suggests playing a game to bring ourselves back to present awareness, and out of pain from the past or anxiety of the future. It's called "The Now Game." So I'll play that:
I feel my daughter nursing.
I feel her body breathing in and out next to mine.
I hear a little whistle as her nose exhales.
I hear cars passing occasionally.
I hear someone emptying trash.
I hear our upstairs neighbor's washer churning.
I see my phone in my hands.
I see bright sunlight streaming in the window!
I see the houseplant leaves illuminated with stripes from the window blinds.
I see the orange tree across the street, loaded with fruit, rustling in the wind.
I see the aluminum foil "twinkle stars" Anjali and I made for her birthday still decorating the door frame.
I feel my eyelashes lightly crusted with tears.
I feel my heart lightened from the weight I felt when I started this post.
I feel sincere gratitude for the Now that is upon me.
I breathe a sigh of release.
Ahhhh! Ain't life a Grand Adventure? Remembering that all I have is Now, and that I can choose how I experience things (haha; my phone auto-corrected to say "thugs"!) helps me tremendously.
And Now, I will Gratefully leave this phone, and Really step into the present!