In the quiet moments I find between work hours, I am learning to center myself through meditation. Sitting in silence with myself, however, can sometimes be difficult. I find that I’ve developed a distaste for the days that my mind is uncomfortable, and that I am afraid that I will encounter discomfort again if I sit and check in with myself. However, I've made a key discovery: movement through comfort and discomfort represents a cycle that is inevitable and essential for growth. I am determined to embrace that cycle with more diligence and compassion than I had before. I am taking steps toward a more mindfully open and kind mind, in the light of a fast-paced and changing world around me. I am finally coming to terms with the reality that I cannot push away change, nor can I ignore problems. And so, to confront my fear of discomfort, I am practicing gratitude.
All it takes is a moment to pause and remember. With one breath of gratitude, my entire experience of the world around me shifts.
I am grateful that my body functions like it ought to, teaching me about resilience as it grows, heals, and recovers. When I take a step, the ground rises up to meet my feet and it is solid. People say, “Don’t look down, the ground isn’t going anywhere” – and it isn’t. I look up instead. I am grateful for changing seasons. For early summer, when cool mornings rise into sunny afternoons and peaceful evenings. For rain, and blooms, and gusts of wind. I am grateful for the smell of flowers that sometimes greets me when I ride my bike past a blooming bush. These brief moments center me in my present, remind me of beauty. I am grateful for good memories, warm blankets, tight hugs. Ripe strawberries, long dresses, smiling. I am grateful for the roll of my muscles in my yoga practice, and for the practice itself; that the poses are there for me when I need them, that they come to me and heal what I didn’t even realize was hurting. When I am on the mat, I learn to be grateful for a balance between struggle and ease. When I am off the mat, I am grateful for it too.
I am grateful for my gradually calming mind, for the discoveries I make about myself every day. I sometimes want to ignore the discomfort in my body and prefer to lie very still, hoping that it will move along if it doesn’t realize I’m there. But what I’m learning, through my practice of gratitude, is that physical discomfort, for me, is often a manifestation of something that isn’t balanced in my mind. Once I come back into myself, I know where to go. How to help. I didn’t used to know that this process worked this way. I used to fight every step of feeling uncomfortable and having to confront it. Now, I am grateful for a process that allows me to grow. I am grateful for ups and downs in a way that I never imagined I could be.
Now is a good time to pause and think. What are you grateful for?
Happy gratitude, everyone.