I for sure had a different WhyDid Wisdom post ready for today… but alas, realized that it was a very special day and deemed the aforementioned post inappropriate for a day such as this. So, let’s take a break from my regularly scheduled snark for something a bit more sweet. Cut me a break, I’m high on pumpkin pie.
I had always thought of myself as a pretty spiritual person. I made sure to pray before bed, I’d read plenty of books on Kabbalah, Christianity, Spirituality, and Juduaism but it was a recent incident that really solidified my faith.
My father always used to tell me to go find a big rock somewhere and to just “go be quiet.” I humored him and said, “Alright,” but never actually took his advice (sorry, dad). What was I going to do? Go sit at the duck pond at Central Park? It’s awfully hard to find somewhere to be completely silent in New York. However, as some of you are well aware, I spent the past two years on the West Coast (Los Angeles and Silicon Valley) and I had plenty of places to be quiet… but still never did. I realized that the problem was not my environment, but my state of mind. I couldn’t quiet my thoughts and tell my brain to shut up long enough to fully get in touch my soul.
Fast forward and I’m back in New York…
Not so long ago (like really not that long ago) I found myself in a very frustrated, fed up, defeated place in my life. It would have been quite easy for me to just throw in the towel, call it a day, and just walk away and give up. To just quit… and I certainly considered doing just that. You see, it’s a whole heck of a lot easier to look around and say, “Why don’t I have this?” “Why is he/she getting the big breaks and I’m busting my ass?” “How come nothing good ever happens to me?” “Why does it have to be so hard?” While there may actually be some slivers of truth to your complaints, focusing on the flaws instead of the fruits of your hard work, may be exactly why you aren’t succeeding. Spending time belly aching over what’s wrong doesn’t leave much room for the right things to come into your life. That’s precisely what I’d been doing.
Maybe instead of being bummed about the failed relationship, lost opportunity, lack of funds, or feeling of complete loss, we should be thankful that for whatever reason those things didn’t pan out and continue to have faith that the answer is coming, so long as you’re looking. I get it. Easier said than done.
Back to me as a complete and utter train wreck in New York…
As I lay there on my white leather couch with Smitty, completely still, completely silent (the city was inexplicably serene that afternoon), mascara stains down my cheeks, I forced myself to pray (meditate for the less religious). I started by first listing all of the things I was thankful for: my ever supportive family, my tried and true friendships, the furry little angel breathing heavy on my lap, all the talents I take for granted, my beautiful home… Every time my thoughts started to wander elsewhere… what would I wear later?, I need to call Katie back, is my flatiron still on?… I re-centered and pressed on. I asked for help. I asked for guidance. I asked for forgiveness. I closed my eyes and cried. I then fell asleep.
Without outlining the entire experience, when I awoke, my tears were no longer those of sorrow, but instead those of joy. I had asked for a sign to renew my faith. To show me that I was on the right track and that I wasn’t completely losing my way or my mind. I could not believe the promptness of my answer. I can’t even get a coffee at Starbucks that fast. I called my parents and told them with tears in my eyes that nothing like this had ever happened to me. These things just never happen… although my mom reminded me there was an incident as a small child where I may or may not have brought a baby bird back to life, but if you want the full story, you’re gonna have to call my dad.
For those who really know me, they know that I’m not some sappy sucker, so for me to even write this, is kind of a big deal. I don’t often share things this close to my heart, but feel compelled today to do so.
This past year was less than stellar for me, but I know that the worst of the worst shit that happened to me is a drop in the bucket compared to the heartaches and hardships of others. Now when I start to get out my pen to ink my RSVP to the pity party, I recall that day and am reminded to just have faith and to be thankful for where I am and what I have. I know that every little let down is actually a lesson, every disappointment is actually a dodged bullet, and every failure is actually an opportunity.
So, next time you’re about to bitch about the price of gas or that annoying girl at work who insists on eating tuna fish sandwiches at her desk, ask yourself: Do you have water? Do you have a bed (or at the very least a couch) to sleep on tonight? Did you just gorge yourself on turkey to the point where your button popped? Are you on a computer/iPad/smartphone using the internet/wifi to read this post? Trust me, there is plenty I could complain about… have you read The Lists?
And while it certainly is nice to dedicate one day a year specifically to being grateful for all of our blessings, perhaps we should start every day feeling appreciative. Look around you right now and really feel deep gratitude for what you already have. There are many others with much less.