Friday, May 16, 2014

lack of gratitude

This is a gratitude tree in my neighborhood.
I found it on my walk two days ago.
I've been thinking about gratitude, and the lack of it I've been feeling lately. I'm catching myself having a lot of unpleasant thoughts with a whiny edge. Things like wondering why a person didn't write me back to place a possible order, instead of thinking about the person who did just place an order for the exact same thing. Or worrying about a super slow week on Etsy and thinking it's all over for me, I'm washed up, instead of thinking about the super fat order I got off my website. Or wanting to resist a deadline and feeling like it's impinging on my work, instead of thinking about how it's all a part of my work and how fortunate I am to have meaningful work at all.

I think these are are pretty normal thoughts and I don't expect to be a perfect person and not have them. But I'm just noticing how crappy it makes me feel when I whine to myself, or when my ego starts squawking that I deserve better, more, now. It's been worse lately since I am going through a transition with my work, I've made choices to not take on so many orders, and I'm uncomfortable with it since I have no idea where that's going to land me financially over the next few years. Or artistically. Or anything else.

The man who planted it told me it's
been there since the recession
started almost 5 years ago.
There's part of me that has complete faith that the changes I've made in my work and personal life are going to take me where I need and want to go, and that place will also bring me more peace and a deeper expression in my art. And there's another part of me that craves success in the form of wider recognition, steady accolades, and financial rewards. This part of me can be very ego-driven and is never satisfied with what I have. It takes my ego about 2 minutes to forget the good thing that just happened to me and start demanding more. It makes me feel tremendously ungrateful.

It's very annoying and emotionally draining to listen this voice and for a while I was smacking it around and telling it to shut the fuck up. Well, that never works, the voice just gets louder. I've been doing some reading on the study of gratitude, the tremendous benefits it brings to your life in the form of better health and more happiness.  The recommendation to feel more gratitude is to simply keep a gratitude journal, write a few things down every day that you are grateful for.

I couldn't believe I didn't notice it
until a couple of days ago.
I've done this before for a few days, and then I lose interest or focus. But since I am trying to detoxify myself from ingratitude, I took this as an opportunity to buy myself a new notebook and get serious about it, and I've been writing 5 things in the morning, in the afternoon, and again before I go to bed. I'm committing to doing this everyday for at least a month, and I'm hoping it has a positive long-term impact on my attitude.

I'm feeling gratitude right now that I have people who read my blog. I'd love it if you would help me with my gratitude work over the month by telling me what you are grateful for.