Day 13: Back to Basics

7 Jan

Oh soooo tired. I can’t any frills to tonight’s post. But the essentials are there.

Note: I actually typed the above sentence like that and didn’t even catch! I’m going to leave it as a testament to just how tired I was when I wrote this blog and to remind myself if I want to sound articulate I can’t write when I’m semi-conscious.

Three Sources of Gratitude:

  • Good Health: I read recently in my book that health is one of those things that we only appreciate when we don’t have it or things are going badly. As I’ve been working on this challenge, some of my objectives have more clearly formulated. One is to appreciate the day more; live more in the moment and use this gratitude to feel more light, positive, and joyful. Another goal is to not have regrets. If I were to pass early, I want to make sure that my friends and family know how much I loved them. I want to feel that I’ve put the effort to mend and grow those relationships which are weaker or have suffered. And as part of not having regrets, I want to express my appreciation for life. Having good health, being able to go for a jog or play racquetball or do a dance class, is at its core a respect for life. Life might not have innate value, but it does hold possibility– for joy, laughter, wonder, achievement, love, and even sorrow and sadness.  These possibilities are all the more plentiful when coupled with good health. So today I am going to try and remind myself of that when I walk and move and sit and stand, how mobility itself is a gift.
  • Warmth: It’s cold! I woke up today in the dark and didn’t want to get out of bed because of how cold it was. But when I did eventually scurry out, I turned the heater on in my room and then jumped into the shower where I took a hot shower. By the time I was done, my room was nice and toasty for me to change clothes and get ready. I surveyed my jacket collection and layered up, and then got into my car, where again, I put the heater on. And now I’m sitting at a friends house on an electric blanket typing this blog. In Chicago if you stay out for more than 5 minutes you risk getting frost bite right now. Throughout the country it is cold. And I’m fortunate to have shelter and warmth to shield me from the elements. Not everyone is, but I hope they’ve found at least some way to stay safe and warm this winter season.
  • Sunrises: It was early when I left the house this morning, but on the bright side there was a beautiful, red sunrise peeping up over the mountains. I wish I’d snapped a picture but I didn’t so you’ll just have to take my word for it– it was one hell of a sunrise.

Exercise: I not only managed to get 45 minutes of cycling in but also get 6% through my newest book– Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. It is good, really good. Poignant and emotionally compelling. I can’t wait to keep reading.

One Positive Experience: Today I grabbed lunch with a couple of my friends and it was lovely. We walked to our favorite food truck and then decided to NOT eat our desks! It was a good way to start the week.

Meditation/Reflection: Today was Monday Night Magic– we’re back in 2014! We caught up and talked about careers and how to stay positive. Something I have realized about myself, for example, is that personally I’m very glass half empty even though I’m quite optimistic and confident in other people: The classic great at the pep talk to others but not so great at giving them to myself. Voicing this tendency has helped me catch it in myself. I think, when interpreting other people’s words, I’m especially negative. I’ve practice saying them in my own voice as if I was saying the same words to someone I cared about. BAM! The difference is magnificent. I assume the worst when people are trying to comfort me (judgmental, nagging or false) but if I were comforting others, it’s soothing and encouraging. The common denominator is the value of the recipient of the news. My glass half empty internal perspective assumes that everything coming my way is also negative (along the lines that I don’t deserve it or good things someone say about me can’t possibly be true). This mini exercise is definitely helping me catch myself when I do it because I’m repeating the same exact words as if I were speaking to someone who I think did deserve the encouragement.

Random Act of Kindness: Today I give a shout out to my high school debate coaches. Debate defined my high school experience and shaped who I was as a person. I loved the learning, competition, and the way I pushed myself and grew because of it. And I loved the community. I still talk to so many of those guys and gals– we were a little family that had so much fun. None of it would have been possible without my coaches guidance, spirit and commitment to this wonderful event.


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