I am in the middle of a weekend of total replenishment and relaxation. I have not officially “dressed” or put on makeup since Thursday. THURSDAY!!!! And this is Sunday. I can’t tell you how much my soul needed to be filled. My face needed to be free and my body needed to lay in bed or on the sofa and do absolutely nothing but exactly what I wanted to do!!!!
I have spent hours cuddling my daughter, building tents in the middle of the living room that she could nap in while she recovers from being sick and I have cooked her all sorts of comfort food from beignets, to buttered pasta, to chocolate chip cookies. Not too healthy but full of mommy’s loving kindness. And for me cooking also fills my soul. I’m a Southern girl, for me feeding people equals loving people.
Today, I am bringing this weekend full circle watching back-to-back episodes of Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday with Brene Brown. We have spoken about Brene here before and her amazing TED talk. She is genius and I SO needed to hear her today.
She is talking about so many profound things, but here is what really resonated with me today. Gratitude….Gratitude is NOT an Attitude. Gratitude is a Practice. Did you hear that? It’s not enough to have a grateful heart, but you MUST PRACTICE gratitude. You must tell people you are grateful for them. You must write it down in a journal daily to make it real in your mind and your heart. What is keeping you from PRACTICING gratitude? Stop waiting, you don’t have to be perfect in your gratitude. You just have to be consistent. Remember my post on Life Practice, not Life Perfect? Well start today with Gratitude Practice, not Gratitude Perfect.
Do you know what Brene says is the hardest emotion for people to deal with? JOY! WOW…really? We can’t accept the good things in our life. Sounds crazy, right? But I think for many people, this is true. We can rally around and totally get into the drama of all the challenges in our life. But when Joy shows up we don’t know what the heck to do with it. And Berne even took it a step further. She said so many people live their life not able to accept the joy in their life because it seems too good to be true. They are always waiting for the other shoe to drop.
I am an optimist, so I don’t really struggle with this as much as some. I love to see the world through “Rose-colored glasses”. But my husband is exactly this. Understandably so, because he lost his mom to breast cancer at age 17. So he has experienced great loss and vulnerability. Brene told a story of a man who went through is life never being too happy or getting too excited because he would “rather be pleasantly surprised than eternally disappointed!” WOW…my husband has been using THIS EXACT PHRASE as his life’s philosophy the entire time I have known him. And in Brene’s story, the man lost his wife in his late 50’s and came to realize that no amount of protecting himself by “waiting for the other shoe to drop” prevented the pain and devastation of losing his wife. So he went on to say that he wasted SO many times when he should have been happy and grateful for the joy and abundance in his life, when he should have been relishing the moment and living in the present instead of wondering what bad thing would happen next. He should have told his wife every day that he loved how she set the table, or how her laughter or her smile filled his soul.
Brene put it this way…”We are trying to dress rehearse tragedy so we can beat vulnerability to the punch.” But guess what…It doesn’t work. And only gratitude, practiced daily, can help you really experience the joy in your life and survive the pain. I’m speechless…What a gut check for my husband and me!
What does this say to you? Does this give you perspective on what is really important in life. Just yesterday, my friend and Mastermind Group Member Lisa Mende, shared this amazing post on her blog about the last moments with her son, Walker. I know Lisa knows exactly what the man in the story above feels. I know she now cherishes every moment in life with a completely different set of eyes than before. And she struggles with the regret of not living in the moment with her son while she still had time.
So this weekend, as I work to get back on track with my self-care, my meditation practice, my healthy eating and exercise that fell by the way-side with all my travels this year, I now realize that the most important thing that fell by the wayside was a PRACTICE of gratitude and perspective on what is really important in my life. So as of today, my schedule for summer looks completely different than it did a few days ago. Photo shoots are pushed back, work is eliminated or delayed, and the next 3 months while my daughter is out of school will be FILLED with living in the moment with her and practicing gratitude for it all the while.
Will you join me in re-prioritizing your life and practicing gratitude? Will you start today? I said it yesterday and I will say it again…Life it Short.