Today was a quiet day. I spend a lot of time alone because I have managed to utterly isolate myself over the years--I make others uncomfortable as I am swaddled in layers of insecurities--mental, emotional, and fattal. I made a committment in December not to be in the same place when the next December roles around--not a resolution so much as a plan with right action.
I'm a planner by nature, and so an agenda to guide my life has always been one of my best habits, when I'm not engulfed in the black fog of depression. And although I set about of an evening to complete my agenda page and plan my next day, I don't always make it happen. I've gotten better, and as part of that ritual, I am grateful to those from whom I've learned to incorporate some new ways of thinking. The most important ritual for my mental health has been that of gratitude. And so I built an agenda with a line on it, on the left hand side, for morning rituals: What are you grateful for this morning?
When I wake up in the morning, if it has been a bad night (night terrors, sweats, just bad dreams or insomnia), I start the day by saying, "I am so grateful to wake up. I am so grateful for my breath." And a lot of times, "I am so grateful for the birds that are singing." If those dark thoughts creep back in, "I am grateful for this shower. I am grateful to brush my teeth. I am grateful for this towel. I am grateful for these clothes. I am grateful for this cup. I am grateful for this coffee. I am grateful for this vehicle. I am grateful for this opportunity. I am grateful for these keys." I find myself being grateful for nature especially, and revel in whatever the conditions are at the moment. I sometimes feel ridiculous and goofy, yet that is SO much beter than feeling pain, anger, and negative. And sometimes, it just doesn't work. And I tell myself, "I'm grateful that I had the chance to be grateful."
I'm grateful for a diamond in the rough that I met in my work a few years ago. I'll share more about how that experience really ritualized my gratitude practice another day. As I look back to my agenda, I go to the right hand side, and my evening question: What are you grateful for this evening? Today, I am grateful that I had a good, quiet, peaceful day without obsessive thoughts creeping in to disturb me. I call that a Win!