Sunday, May 16, 2010

Gratitude is Just a Nine-Letter Word - by Cyma

For many years in my yoga classes (pre-children), I had trouble finding the ‘gratitude’ that the teachers requested of us, especially during our parting word, “Namaste” (meaning: the light/spirit in me acknowledges the light/spirit in you). While I knew that it was necessary to acknowledge the goodness in my life; the people who had sustained me; the loves I had found; and the joys that I experienced, the truth was that I was always just surviving the day only to run home and find solace and peace in the solitude of my home, alone. The truth was that I was rarely happy.

It was only after the arrival of my children, that I began counting my blessings. Suddenly, the simplicity of things became much more apparent, and the necessity to make things more simple, vital. Before long I was (easily) finding words of faith during nightly meals and High Holidays, and I began thanking people for the good deeds/words/hugs/praises/gestures they would bestow me. It took me many months before I realized that although my children had opened my heart and soul, it was actually me who was morphing into a kinder, gentler creature -- still Type-A, but with a much, much softer edge. After many years of self-loathing, I was becoming someone I thought I could come to like.

Now, it wasn’t so important to make that deal; dress to kill; or drive a car that people envied. I didn’t have to prove myself to the entire world. It wasn’t necessary to always be “on top,” or more importantly, to be “on.” In my new life with young children, “on” meant awake and functioning and “on top” meant having a day unfold without any major meltdowns, lost items, forgotten appointments or irresolvable crises. A ‘good day’ was one in which I was called upon to constantly reassess family situations and provide good, sometimes clever, and nearly always instantaneous responses, many of which surprised me…. about me!

While I felt I lost myself during early motherhood, I prayed that I would somehow come out the other side with a better set of expectations about the world, a more realistic view of my (length of) time on earth and more peace and joy than was previous experienced. Before that time, I think I rarely experienced much peace and joy at all.

Although my childrearing years have come at a later age than most, and there are certainly days that I ponder and sometimes grieve the truth of that, I am now nearly always hopeful about myself, my life and the lifetime of potential for my children.

Having gratitude provides a constant stream of strength and power which I draw from daily in my quest for a good, compassionate and life-affirming existence. I pray often and constantly give thanks. I am now just grateful to be alive, AND to have my children.

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