The alarm went off as it does every morning. I got up; washed up; listened to the news while eating breakfast as I do every morning. I turned on the computer, checked email, posted a tweet as I do every morning. Suddenly, I realized I had nothing to do the rest of the day. Some of you might pay a king’s ransom for such a day.
I went through a mental check list of all my options. Friends and family were either out of town or had previous commitments. I was unable to take myself out at this particular time. What else was there to do? Have a couple of unread books I could start. Nah, not in the mood.
(I feel I should point out here that I am well aware of not always writing in complete, grammatically correct sentences. I don’t always talk in complete, grammatically correct sentences either. That’s it.)
I became a little whiney about having nothing to do. Yet, the truth is that there is really always something to do. Dispose of stuff that no longer serves any purpose than to take up space which could be better used. Dig out an old toothbrush and scrub tile grout; clean underneath the stove and refrigerator. There is a littany of similar cruel and unusual chores one could take on. Since I’m not a fan of the cruel and unusual, I once again begged the question, “What am I supposed to do the rest of the day?” Wow, that even reads whiney.
Here’s what happened. It started with chocolate chip cookies. I turned into baker lady. Not much beats warm, fresh out of the oven chocolate chip cookies and listening to Joshua Bell playing violin concertos.
As I sat savoring a fresh-baked chocolate chip cookie, with the music in the background, I experienced a perspective shift. I started listing everything and everyone in my life that I am grateful for and apreciative of. Immersing one’s self in all that is good in life can make a profound change in one’s attitude and outlook.
It’s been said that if you have gratitude in your heart, it is not possible to be depressed or negative in general. I buy into that as I have actually experienced it. As I felt true appreciation and gratitude, the rest of my day changed. How was it different? I no longer groused about having nothing to do. In fact, there was a pleasant flow to the remainder of the day. I also noticed a feeling of joy in my heart.
Sustaining the positive emotions of joy and gratitude can be transformative. I highly recommend it.
“You can’t be grateful for everything, but in any moment you can be grateful for something.” Brother David Steindl-Rast