It seems easier to be Thankful for the larger details of our existence: Family, Environment and Circumstance… especially if: 1. That family is both loving and supportive 2. That environment is conducive to good health and 3. The circumstances are loaded with choices of creative expression. These can be enriching aspects of our lives with potential to dramatically nurture our success and overall feelings of Abundance & Happiness. They, no doubt, make triumph more triumphant and/or challenges… a bit easier to take on. And, so we often acknowledge and give thanks for their essential influence in our lives. Those people and those “things” are worth every second of our gratitude. Because, they DO directly effect our perception of Happiness. They certainly help support, sustain and nurture our inner most human tendencies. Let’s call them the “Monumental Pieces of our Gratitude Picture”. And, around November loads of people take it upon themselves to express their “Thanks” to those truly pivotal pieces of their puzzle.
And, while enough can not be said in the way of giving thanks to those deserving of our gratitude, I have found it just as beneficial (and maybe even more essential) to focus on the smaller puzzle pieces of my life, in an attempt to find a sense of Gratitude in all things, big AND small. Most imperatively when we recognize parts of the 3 above mentioned factors (Family, Environment & Circumstance) that could be improved.
It is an involved life experiment to take responsibility for where abundance, gratitude and happiness are being released and where they are being withheld. Because, just as those external pieces effect us … research has proven that what we have going on inside (our mind and our body) effects up to 40% of our happiness. Let’s agree that feelings of abundance and gratitude go hand in hand with happiness. You can’t very well be feeling: Full, Loved, Enriched, Prosperous and Healthy while simultaneously feeling like shit. So let’s, for a moment, take to heart what many researchers support as “Determinants of Happiness“:
I am not suggesting that we only give thanks to that which makes us “Happier“. In fact, I believe many people understand how important it is to be gracious and thankful for the things that help us grow, the people that challenge us, the trials, the errors and all that stuff in between. Because, those more thought provoking times in our lives…they are what ultimately help us define ourselves, and our place in the world.
With that said, only WE can define what it is we are choosing to do with the 40% of our happiness that we are personally responsible for… Is it being done with mindfulness or mindlessness? I suspect that many people are like me…I experience moments of both… Sometimes the more trivial tasks of being human get lost. You know what i mean, those sometimes monotonous parts of our existence or habitual activities that we take for granted every single day. But, the truth is that the way we are doing them is shaping our reality in uncountable ways. And, yet… we rarely do them justice in the “Gratitude Department”. And, that is the focus of my writing today.
It goes without saying.. I am grateful for my mind, health, loving family and many friends who have become part of an extended family. But, this post is devoted to those “littler things” that bring joy to me, daily, because… those are just as essential to my “Gratitude Picture” as anything… They are worth honoring. And, so without further ado… “These are a few of my Favorite Things”… in no particular order of importance 😉
1. Locating “The Cold Spot”: Finding that prime cold spot, for my tootsies, in the depths of sleep, sheets and bedding… “Oh there you are…it’s nice to feel you again!”
2. The Loo for Two: It never seizes to amaze me how many times (per day) my puppy eagerly follows me into the toilet. How excited she becomes at this one on one “alone time” we get… every time nature calls. Every single day it makes me smile. Who knew that MY going to the bathroom could be as exciting for another being? Only dog owners.
3. A Damn Good Head Scratch: They say it is better to Give then to Receive… but, when it comes to head scratches, I beg to differ. Don’t get me wrong, nothing delights me more than watching my partner go into a puppy like state as I subtly scratch his thoughts away. But, I can honestly say… at the end of a long day… there may not be anything half as good as melting away into the simple pleasures of a loving head scratch.
4. The Warmth of Water: Water is the heavenly cure to anything that ails. Water Therapy in the form of shower mediation, always does the trick. And, unless you’ve experienced living in a country where the only shower taking that was being done was Cold As Ice (and taking one seemed more painstaking than being able to smell yourself)… the “warm” aspect of this can not be emphasized enough… nor relished in, with sheer glory.
5. IPA, Yes Please: I’m thankful for its bountiful sensuality and charisma. There is always room for a good IPA at my table…
6. Take it to Paper: Fogginess, be gone! Ain’t nothing like a good ol’ writing sesh to bring on some clarity… blessed is the girl who can navigate her way through life with a pen and paper… My 15 year love affair with writing has seen many a tired hearts tale from yours truly. I am indebted to every pen that found me in a troubled state and for whom I took my confusion out on… And, even through the mishaps…You have given me unparallelled release, revealed to me the ultimate lessons of my life and depths of my being.
7. Cook, Chef, Foodie… It’s All The Same: When the social butterfly in me hibernates, I turn to food. And, not in the “eating it” sort of way but, in the preparing of it. Turn me on some Jazz, Pour me a glass of vino, give me a knife, some produce & a cutting board… and that’s my version of a damn good time. Exploring the culinary world has become an overwhelming source of joy, in my life. The more I do it, the more I learn from it. And, the more I learn, I love.
8. Every Girl ought to have a Beauty Routine, she adores: And, Mine… is something I love, with a passion. I am grateful for it every single day. So, I’m giving a shout out to: Coconut & Olive Oil, Witch Hazel, Aloe Vera, Apple Cider Vinegar, Sugar, Lavender, Lemon & Honey … you are sacred goodness.
9. Teeth Brushing & Dish Washing: Hell yea, I’m adding these to my list! Why? Because, I may be one of the few people in all the land that finds fun in these two activities! And Yes, i mean that… from the bottom of my heart. I can’t remember when I fell in love with brushing my teeth but, it happened… and I’ve never turned back. In fact, I grew to love flossing too! And, it was a match made in heaven lol… and on the subject of dish washing… i like that too! A lot 🙂 I find both of these activities soothing, mind clearing and enjoyable.
Which leads me effortlessly into my next favorite thing…
10. “OCD” minus the D: I can be compulsive, sometimes. But, I refuse to accept this as a “Disorder”. I rather refer to it as one of many character intricacies that add depth and mindfulness to my way of life. I understand that if special attention is not paid to this particular quality that I could spend endless amounts of time walking a tight rope to no-where…. aka perfectionism. Cuz, it doesn’t exist! So, instead of categorizing it as an “imperfection”, I have learned to accept it as a natural part of how my mind works… And, paying attention to detail has been more eye opening than it has been harmful. So, for that… I am thankful.
11. You say “Holey” and I say “Holy” Pajamas: Yes, that’s right… I give thanks to my holiest of holey pajamas… my trusted partners in the sleep realm. You may not be easy on the eyes but, baby… you feel good! And, no amount of torn, tattered or ripped is gonna separate us! And, no amount of your socially accepted “bedroom attire” frilly & itchy campaigning will ever convince me otherwise. COMFY IS SEXY, and that is that! On the subject of sleeping attire I fall into one of two categories: Nudy Rudy or Comfy as hell…
12. Hailing the epic-ness of Salad: You may ask: “Seriously….how many ways can you make a salad interesting?” And to that I reply: “A Shit Ton” wanna try me? Honestly, Salads amaze me. Produce, Herbs, Seeds, Nuts, Dressings… so many varieties of mouth-gasm goodness… And, to that I give thanks!
13. Cuddling: There ain’t nothing that compares to a good cuddle, seriously … it’s good for your health.
14. Sharing Natures Goodness with the furry babes: Oh, how much joy our animals get in partaking in the goodness of these simple rituals: Nightly Coconut Oil, Daily Oatmeal with Nutritional Yeast, and fresh Carrots, Carrots and more Carrots! And, what a smile it brings to my face each time we enjoy these things, together.
15. “Good ol’ Fashioned Fun!”: Sure we are all “Grown-ups” but, “You wanna play a game?” is still a frequently asked question in the Bishop household. “Hell yea!” is the usual response. We are a “Game Family” & we are proud of it! (Well, minus my mother who refuses to play anything but Parcheesi and Scategories due to the competitive nature of my father, brother and I but, that’s a different matter all together lol). I am grateful for the multitude of memories that have been shared peering over a board game and… it is something I will always En-Joy doing (except when I agree to play Monopoly, that never ends well) Thanks ma and pa, for not simply throwing toys in our hands but, playing with us… still!
16. Meditation VS. Medication: Getting my OM on: “I accept what is happening within my body, I am ok with feeling it and I am listening …” I am thankful every single time I choose to sit with tension, understand stress, reveal anxiety, get in touch with myself and take responsibility for my reality… rather than feeding the illusion that I need a prescription to help myself…
17. Being a “Picture Person”: I love to capture life. I can enjoy the present moment as well as feed my creative urge to grab hold of its visual essence. For me, being behind a camera is both poetic & therapeutic. It has been a great source of unmasking the subtleties of living. I am thankful for the photos that have brought me closer to understanding those around me and the world.
18. “Holy (free) Crap!” : I am a Second-Hand Stuff Loving Gal. And, I find pleasure in such things as: Garage, Estate, Swap and thrift store shopping…. Anyone who knows me, well, knows that I am a treasure hunter. I can often be seen single handedly loading furniture (marked “FREE”) into the back of my truck, sequestering the help of my family to pursue a couch, and/or cautiously making my way home w/ a new something tied haphazardly to the top of my car. I welcome the challenge of turning one mans trash into… this womans something! 😉 It ain’t for everyone, that’s for sure… but, it’s for me! And, I’ll follow any marked sign leading to a good time… with gratitude!
19. My Faithful Sidekick: I am thankful every single day for the relationship I have developed with Boston (my girl of 6 years) who, as I type, is right by my side…. We have been from coast to coast, separated for months at a time during travel and still, every day I wake until the time I rest my head, Boston is there…. in all ways, always as a consistent structure of love and support. Thank you, my darling girl.
20. My Best Friend’s Children: I am filled with gratitude at what an overwhelming experience it has been to watch & grow alongside the pregnancies, births and children of one of my dearest friends. What I have gained in witnessing my friend become a mother to 4 beautiful children is immense… understanding. Being a part of their lives and learning from them… has no doubt influenced the way I will raise my own children, positively. And, that is a strong something I have intentions to do in the future 🙂
21. Every day should end with a “Happy Ending”: And, by that I mean… a happy ending that we allocate to ourselves. The day I decided I was valuable enough to start giving myself nightly self- massage, was the day I struck Gold. There ain’t no shame, only something to be gained… in a good shoulder or facial massage and honestly, at the end of the day… who knows where, and how, I need it…. better than me?
22. The Blog-o-sphere: I give thanks for this space. A place that has provided me with a platform to voice myself, share myself, be myself and see myself… in new dimensions.
And now, I conclude this blog post with a brief story titled:
“Kitty called Dexter“
Eat, Sleep, Play, Love, Be Happy and Repeat!
Sir Dexter, The day you got trapped in that tree in our backyard, was a great day! I have to admit, I was reluctant to love you in my most natural (instantaneous) way. Because, well… I bring home animals all the time. And, our home is a bit o-fur-whelmed (at times) and i didn’t want to ruffle any humanoids. However, I was eager to follow suit as the rest of the humans fell in love and welcomed you into our world… And, I have to tell you… the expansion of our fury family couldn’t have happened at more an opportune time, for me personally. The truth is, I don’t have the means to buy you expensive kitty-cat luxuries but, I can do you up a wicked Man-Cave and indulge in epic play sessions! Anyways, Who knew how exciting rope could be!? I’m just realizing it now…
I marvel at your fearlessness, playfulness and sensitivity. You have helped me through an incredibly emotional time in my life and I Thank you for encouraging me to remember the importance of all the simple, subtle, joys of life– like trees, ropes and forts. Here I was foolishly thinking “I saved you”… it seems that I needed you more than you needed me….you already get it… Eat, Sleep, Play, love, be happy and repeat! You’ve been a beautiful reflection of simplicity, honesty and happiness. And for that I Puuurrrrrrrrr with gratitude. The end.