The first time I was shot at was after I got out of uniform. I was at a bus stop in Minneapolis, Minnesota, after my closing shift at the chocolate shop. I can’t recall if it was late at night or still daylight. I was seated on the wooden bench and the shot entered the glass shelter, just above my head.
My Sunday gratitude: years ago I was at the lowest of the low as I had recently had a major setback on something I had been working on for some time. I recall I got out of my vehicle at work and stepped on something shiny. It was a medal. It was a Mother Mary religious medal that had a prayer on it, likely blessed by a priest. I tried to reconnect the medal with its owner, but it stayed with me. If ever I had a sign, that was it. My problem soon resolved, and I moved on with an encouraged heart.
Today, I stepped out of the vehicle in a local parking lot where I was going for a run. I nearly stepped on two 5 dollar bills. You might say that money and medals are very different things. I have always viewed a found penny as a message from a HP of prosperity and blessings. Some groups think of the number 5 as the number for change. Since I received two 5ers, I think there’s much change ahead. I’m hoping it’s generally good, as most things are in the end. Thankful for the message from my HP.
Also, I discovered today when teaching English idioms to the spouse, I never finished the phrase “Finders Keepers” — I would stop there. He was today years old when one of our kids taught him the rest of the phrase. The whole saying is “Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers.”
I don’t like to focus on losing, so I left that out.
I took a couple days off from posting. Not from writing down my gratitude lists, but from declaring them publicly. I needed to rest. So rest I did.
I’m not usually the type of person to give myself permission to rest. I’ve been feirly busy since I was a teen in high school with a couple of jobs, extracrricular activity, you name it. Then later, full time schooling, jobs, activities.
Starting a family added to the busy. Still I managed to go to work, have kids, get a secondary degree. I never felt like I could rest, even when I wanted to.
Not too long ago, I had a job that ratcheted up the imbalance of obligation and work to never before seen heights. In part, the imbalance was set by trauma. More than six catastrophic events, at least that’s what the post-critical-incident debriefing therapist told me, had occurred in approximately six months.
I could feel every one of those events, ringing in my bones like the thrum of a singing bowl. Or the scrape of nails on blackboards. If you know what a blackboard is, you’re of a certain age. Mature, like me.
After leaving the super catastrophic situation I was in, I found I no longer wanted to burn for work, for obligation, for anything that wasn’t in line with a higher vision for me. And so I took a good hard look at what mattered.
Then the pandemic made me take many more moments to consider what matters.
The bottom line is this: rest is essential.
We can work hard and drive at a target. That’s commendable. But we may burn out. Burn up. Land face down in the dirt. And it’s hard to get up when you’ve turned yourself into a twitching, irritable individual who trusts no one.
But taking rest when needed is not a bad thing. It’s actually a very good thing. Rest. If that means sleeping, or lounging, or just putting a few strong goals aside until your energy is up again.
It’s like running and walking. If you alternate, you last longer. You can go miles with intervals, when you may not be able to go very far at all on a sprint.
Meanwhile, my gratitude is for those who have helped me learn how to, remember how to, and feel ok with taking time to rest.
I’m grateful for the lesson. Thankful that I “got it” after all these years.
It’s Monday. Mondays are the days that people complain about in songs. It’s the day most 40 hour work weeks begin. We shake off our weekend moods and paces and get back into the fray.
Boy howdy was that true for me today.
But I still have time for gratitude. I make time for it. I look for things to be glad about. I find many things in my day to be thankful for.
Today I am grateful for the creatives. The people who paint. Who write. Who draw. Who design.
I have a Mary Englebreit poster on my wall where she has portrayed an artist in front of a blank canvas and the saying is: “BEGIN ANYWHERE. Just Begin.”
That’s what is so amazing about creative people. They start with nothing and build something out of it. A blank space becomes filled with color.
What have you been able to create? Did you used to draw when you were little? I know I did, but I stopped drawing and painting at a certain age. Fortunately, I have resumed writing in recent years. And sometimes I will draw. So I still am able to create something, from nothing.
And there’s that feeling when one sits back and looks at what has been done. Assesses the art. And the art, no matter how imperfect, is good.
That’s what I am feeling grateful and thankful for today. That act of bringing something good into being.
May we all create some lovely, imperfect art on our journeys. I give myself permission. I urge you to give yourself permission too. Be a creative–you know you are. There’s something you yearn to create. What is it?