▶ White Christmas Count your Blessings – YouTube.
As I lay me down to sleep, I peep cautiously out of one eye to see if my son has his eyes closed yet. He used to be infamous for his poor sleep, but he is 5 and a half now. All grown up and a great sleeper. He has placed himself so that his head is on the same pillow as mine and his nose is only 2 inches away, his breath warm on my chin. His eyes are closed but I know his breathing patterns and he is not asleep yet, or at least not deep enough for me to sneak away.
I have time to let my mind wander and so it will. I think about this week of holidays, family time and celebration. I have nothing to complain about. I have no wants. No needs. My biggest problem this week is embarrassing at best: deciding whether to switch from an iphone to a Samsung. Seriously pathetic.
So I let my mind wander to gratitude, where I know I can always come away feeling refreshed and light. To reach out and embrace my children. To have them want to cuddle and play with me. To have a husband who is engaged, honest, and fun to be with. To have a home that is warm and safe. To go to work and use my skills to help others. These are my Christmas gifts. This is my joy. I allow the soft hush of this realization to resonate and bring a peace to my mind.
Christmas as we know it today has become a reminder of what I do not need. I give thanks for all the marketing and lights and bells and whistles as they blare out a message: “If you are not enough, then we can provide. We have everything you need!” And I laugh at the ridiculousness of the idea. Didn’t we grow up watching the Grinch learn this very lesson every single year, trying to stuff joy and love into bags and steal it? So then, even if we know it in our hearts to be true, we may not be ready to become it. To live it. To allow the message to seep in, take root and grow, changing us permanently as it thrives.
I remember the smile on the Grinch and his heart swelling in anticipation. I lay there and count my blessings as I count my son’s tiny breaths. One by one, smiling as they come.
Occasionally, we come across a quote, a photo or a video online that affects us. We see it. We consider it. We feel it and it changes us. For me, this is one such video. Thanks to thinkingaboutliving.com for this post!
Kissed by the Sun. photo from: keylimepietree.com
Some lovely neighbours of ours brought us back a basket full of Okanagan plums last week after their vacation. I love plums. There were dark red ones and some light yellow. I went for the dark red. The first bite was indescribable, but I will try.
The tight skin burst under my teeth and juice exploded out onto my chin. My daughter ‘M’ saw this and begged to have a bite too. There goes that plum. Ok, round two.
Under the skin of plum #2 was the most sensational flavour, sweet like honey but with a hint of vanilla, deepening as you neared the dark mahogany . The middle was a mush of goodness that could only be prolonged to 2 or 3 bites (4 or 5 little ‘M’ bites).
As we sat in the afternoon sun in pure bliss with our treats (also plum #3 and #4) I could only feel gratitude. The feeling overwhelmed in that instant, drowning out all others like a tidal pool suddenly filling in from the greater ocean. I was grateful for things that were simple, not hard won. Not the clothes on my back or the house we stood in. Here were my thoughts:
I have hands and they help me to hold this fruit. To bring it to my mouth and taste it. I have eyes and they see this gift. They are able to help me wonder at the colors and the beauty of this creation. I have a nose to recognize the scent of vanilla and to associate this, along with the plum, to one of my favorite wines from the same region. I have skin to feel the sun and the soft cheek of my child as I wipe away the sticky goodness from her chin. I have ears that hear her laughter and her asking again for the 3rd time “Is this a plum?”, as she makes sure she stores the memory of taste and sight together for the future.
What small moments we are given, if we can only see them. Moments of clarity and joy. This was a day to practice gratitude and even to be given that I am grateful.
I have had a book on my shelf for over a year. The first time I tried to read it, I felt like it did not make any sense or that it was not written so I could easily read or understand its’ messages. I put it away at the back of the shelf.
Time lapse to 2 weeks ago and my life has taken me down a completely unexpected road. I caught a post on Facebook and watched my first Brene Brown video on youTube. I remembered that had been given that book…one of her’s – ‘The Gifts of Imperfection’. I started reading and it was EXACTLY what I needed to hear at that point in my life’s journey.
I am so thankful for instinct and learning and for finding the strength to make bold changes.
Enjoy the video. Lean into your moments of joy.