Spinning a Web of Abundance

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A child wakes early, earlier than the sun, and he’s boiling over with ideas, shouting them into action as my hope for silence dissolves …

A rowdy toddler pushes chairs across the house, grabbing flashlights and lighters and car keys and laptops, all of which have been placed out of his reach.  This, during homeschool lessons. This, while I’m cooking. This, all the time ...

At the end of the day we come together, husband and wife, crashing into bed somewhere between exhaustion and surrender.  The intention is to cross the mental bridge of our life-work back into each other’s hearts. But instead, the communication lines go awry.  For a moment or a night, we feel farther away from each other in this small bedroom than we did when we weren’t even in the same house …

In each instance, I am given a choice of whether my life gets smaller or more expansive.  See, if my life feels smaller because of my attitude, it is smaller.  If my life feels grander because of my attitude, well, it becomes grander.  

I can spin it poetic: Gratitude is the breath of my days.  Gratitude is the footprints of my life. Gratitude is the one currency I can spend and replenish, never with an overdraft fee, as if by giving it out I automatically make more.  These metaphors are true, but practically, mostly, gratitude feels like all I’ve got.

Life, as ever, is unpredictable.  What they say about the “best-laid plans” is often true.  In the days of pinched bank accounts, and snotty-noses, and heart-breaking politics, our attitude can shift us from despair to content.  Life does not demand I appreciate it.  I am the greatest beneficiary of a gracious attitude.  

I can bristle and crunch under the change of plans.  I can resent the loss of silence. I can moan over our tiny, crowded home and the lack of personal space.  I can and have done all of these things and while I believe all feelings have their useful place, I know the tight feeling of lack and the tunnel it threatens to pull me into where everything around me becomes not enough.

But gratitude is the expansive breath.  The breath that physically and energetically gives my heart more room.  With the small words of “thank you”, I spin a web of abundance.

“Thank you for helping.”
“Thank you for listening.”
“Thank you for sharing.”

“Thank you for being you.”

To the sun, the moon, the seasons.  To my children, my friends, the internet, the quiet.  To the tense, the ruffled, the artful. The more I see in my life that I can say “Thank you” for, the more I see in my life that I can say “Thank you” for.

A sick kid (again) means a meeting is canceled (again).  I feel no frustration, in fact, I almost smile. I feel only gratitude: I can hold him, I can be with him, I can create comfortable space.  I give thanks it is not an emergency in either direction. It’s an inconvenience, no more, and with a grateful heart, the day reshapes itself before my eyes.

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Elisabeth McCachren Mitchell is a mama to three small children, a writer, and a postpartum doula living on a small homestead in the Blue Ridge Mountains of NC. Her studies in tantric yoga and psychology inform all aspects of her life and provide endless brain fodder. Follow her as she finds beauty, makes meaning, and honors the work of motherhood @heartcenteredmamas.

Maria Borghoff