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Gratitude


I'm usually pretty even-keeled when it comes to my emotions, but the past few days I've found myself feeling so off.  For whatever reason (snow, traffic, illness, cabin fever, all of the above) I've found myself feeling so irrationally angry all day long.  Every day, like clockwork, my eyes fly open at 5:45 am, usually to Gray whisper screaming "wipeeeeeeeee" coming from the bathroom and before I can even get my bearings I start feeling this rage creeping through my body.  I swear it's almost like a fire burning.  After sssshing him back to his room, I lay back in bed and rather than falling asleep I just sit there and stew. Typically about nothing and about everything at the same time.  My husband commented the other day that I am have been the exact opposite of my usual happy go lucky self, and  I seriously needed to get whatever is bothering me in check.  What can I say?  I get it. I do.  I don't know why the little things have been aggravating me so more than usual, or why at the end of the day listening to the nightly bickering (which is usually just annoying) now sounds like nails on the chalkboard.  My husband was home on Monday and I have to admit that him even being here was driving me crazy.  Like it was an invasion of my space.  I took a short walk in the snow to clear my head, after spending the morning yelling at everyone, and when I got back it was like I was in a whole new house.  I was actually looking forward to spending the day with the kids and happy that Dad didn't have to work until later in the day.  Clearly I just needed a break.



Today after I dropped Gray off, I decided to chance the traffic and make my way to my favorite yoga class.  Usually this is a 10 minute commute, but on a day like today it took me over 45 minutes.  When I finally made it my garage was closed and as I was about to leave (filled with anger) a spot opened up, and even though I was late I somehow had made it to class.  Upon my arrival, my wise teacher was discussing exactly how I was feeling.  How the past few weeks in this city can make us so angry and how we hold in that anger, frustration, stress, and how it manifests in every aspect of our daily lives.  I swear it was like she was talking to me.  She had us practice an exercise in gratitude and I have to share it with you because it allowed me such a release, I imagine there are quite a few of my fellow Bostonians who are feeling the same way right about now.

We started class as most do, thinking of things that we are grateful for but instead of big picture things, she had us focus on the smaller things.  I found this small nuance to be so eye-opening.  She said she starts the day thinking of the little things she is grateful for, like sleeping in, or a few moments of quiet in the morning.  She had us list in our head what we were grateful for this morning.  Usually I would say my family, my health, my friends, yada yada and of course that is all true, but it's those big ideas that get lost when you are dealing with the day to day trials and tribulations.  Instead, today I thought about how grateful I was for my parking spot, and how grateful I was that I was able to get quarters from the juice guy without any hassle (in this city that is a big deal) and how grateful I was that I was about to take an hour in the middle of the morning just for myself.  Just thinking of these small things made such a big difference in my mood,   I'm telling you it was like I could feel my whole body lightening.

The rest of the class we focused on back bending and chest opening, which she said can act as an anti-depressant for the body, and towards the end we took a few minutes to lay on a block (which can easily be done with a rolled up towel or blanket at home) wedged in-between our shoulder blades,  letting gravity do the work.  During this time I ticked off all the little things I was grateful for.  The shoveled sidewalk, the fact that my mother-in-law is in town which means I get to pick up the LM without forcing Gray to sit for what has become an hour and a half commute, the clean sheets on my bed, etc... It seems silly but for some reason just focusing on the little blessings made the biggest difference in my mood.  So far the anger has been kept at bay and I really do feel more like my old self.

From now on I'm going to really try to keep up with this exercise in gratitude.  I realize that the stewing that I do after my early morning wakeup is just setting my day off on the wrong foot.  Instead, I going to prop myself up in to a chest opening position and try to focus on the little things that I'm grateful for.  Rather than starting the day with so much weight already on my mind, I'm going to try to lighten the load.  One can never have too much gratitude and it's nice to find it just when you need it the most.

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