It’s been about a month since I started trying to live a grateful life and here is the sad, sad truth: It’s hard to do. I know, I know! I have so many things to be grateful for – in fact, I have a list if you’d like to see it and about seventeen entries in my gratitude journal – but it is hard to keep a grateful outlook when ‘life’ gets in the way. I find myself angry at traffic, angry at technology, angry when things aren’t going my way…just angry for reasons that shouldn’t matter. Now that I’m paying attention, I’m a pretty awful, selfish, ungrateful person – which is a damn shame. I’m working on it by trying to live in the moment more and stop rocking in the worry chair – but I have to work on it every day.
My Gratitude Journal
I’m a fan of the gratitude journal, which I complete at work in the mornings. I tend to get in the office before the majority of the folks so it’s quiet and that gives me time to reflect on what’s been going on. It’s been helping keep me in the right mindset. In fact, the journal helped me see the good in a situation I would’ve previously been aggravated about so overall, that’s a win.
I haven’t started my gratitude letter yet. In case you’re unfamiliar with this term, it’s a heartfelt letter you write to someone listing specific things they’ve done that you’re grateful for. You’re supposed to read it to them in person but as a grateful introvert, that might not be ideal for me. I know who I want to write it to. There’s a 50-50 chance it goes over well. I will write it by the end of this month. Goal set.
The Gratitude Diaries
The roadmap for this little journey is from Janice Kaplan’s book, The Gratitude Diaries. I highly suggest this audiobook, especially for on the way to work, though I’m sure the printed copy is just as good.
I’ll try to think of something a little more snazzy for my October update, you know, so you can be grateful you actually read the post. See you then.
I have three cats. I love them all, but I do have a favorite. Fenway, which was already his name when we adopted him, is a domestic short hair of the black and white persuasion. He has a very distinct personality. When I get home, he runs to the door – granted he’s just happy I’m home to feed him, but still. If I’m sad, he knows and comes to give me love. He sleeps with me every night. He tries to sleep on my pillow every night, but he’s 17 lbs so that never works out very well and he ends up at my feet. He’s the best cat ever in the history of ever.
Fenway the Cat
Fenway has a digestive issue. Since he was a kitten he has had the most stinky, nasty poo I’ve ever seen come out of a cat. It is always runny and gross and just ew. My husband calls him ‘Funky-Funk’ and ‘The Notorious F-U-N-K’ or sometimes just ‘Notorious’ for short. The litter box has to be scooped out every day and the contents thrown into a plastic bag, which is then thrown in the special ‘poo poo trashcan’ that sits in the garage. The whole litter box is changed (emptied, scrubbed, refilled) by yours truly every weekend. It’s a whole thing.
With all of this nastiness (and if you know me, you know I am NOT one for dirty or nasty things anywhere NEAR my house), one would think I ought to harbor some ill will toward this cat. I don’t. I don’t even mind doing all of these things because if I didn’t do them, I wouldn’t have Fenway.
I’ve been contemplating some things lately, you know, small things like life and my place here in this universe. I’ve also been hearing a lot about being grateful and how this perspective can indeed change your life. Up until last week I wasn’t on board with this concept as it just didn’t resonate with me. I didn’t see how someone could look past a bad situation and find something to be grateful for. Then, I thought of Fenway. Yes, changing a stinky litter box is small in comparison to some of the real shit life throws our way, but for me it was that moment when I finally got it. There is ALWAYS something to be grateful for. Perhaps you’ve guessed by now, but this post isn’t really about my cats. This post is the beginning of what I shall call The Litter Box Trials, which is essentially my commitment to live a more grateful life.
• Areas of focus: Husband, Child, Work, Other.
• My Plan: Gratitude journal, purposefully stop complaining, two gratitude letters per year
I’ll update you in a month and let you know where I stand and the impact this little trial has had on my day-to-day life. While you wait, here is a pic of me snuggling with Fenway.
Me and Fenway