Finding Gratitude

Roasted Pumpkin and Kale Salad with Wild rice, maple pecans, craisins, Apple and and Allspice Vinaigrette. |

When I first started writing for the Spokesman (our local newspaper) my copy editor gave me a bit of constructive criticism: “Don’t bury the lead!”.  It’s a habit I’ve developed on the blog, because honestly, I don’t know why anyone would be interested in my personal life, so when or if I do write about myself, I usually bury it way down in the blog post intentionally, so those of you who just want the recipe, don’t have to go through the torture of having to sift through my personal musings. Please feel free to continue this practice if you are accustomed- seriously, it won’t hurt my feelings. 😉

For the past week, we’ve been out of power along with thousands of others here in Spokane, after a huge wind storm blew down hundreds of old trees, taking the power lines down with them.  With frigid temperatures at night, it has been challenging trying to keep our house warm so the pipes and pets don’t freeze. For the first day or two it felt like camping, fun in way, exciting… playing games by candle light, having fires, listening to the battery-powered radio and reading with a head lamp. But as the days wore on, and I awoke this morning, with an aching head and scratchy throat, with Thanksgiving only  two days away, and a houseful of guests planning to come over, I felt my spirits slowly sink. I knew I had to get back to the place of gratitude before I brought everyone down around me.

At least we didn’t have a tree crash into our living room, my husband kept reminding me, like several of our neighbors. So that is good. And as my very practical friend Jill reminded me, at least I’m not a Syrian refuge. There is that, to put things in perspective.

But I don’t want to feel gratitude, because we fared better, compared to others, or because it could be worse.  I don’t want to feel it because I would feel guilty if I didn’t, or because my rational brain tells me I should.

I want to feel it, because I feel it.

So I sit here.  I stir the fire. I let my brain calm and let my heart open…..and wait.  And wait.  And wait.

And then… eventually it comes,  just a glimpse. This feeling that no matter how difficult our lives can be at times, I’m honored, grateful, to be alive and experience all of it. Even the hard stuff. I want to hang on to this feeling forever ….but it is fleeting.

There seems to be a deeper level of gratefulness that we can tap into. One that is constant and unconditional regardless of external circumstances. I haven’t evolved far enough as a human to be able to remain tethered to this place, but I can sense its presence under the surface and dip into every now and again, and it is transformative. I wonder how my life would change if I could feel it daily. I wonder how this world would change if we could all feel it.

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