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I was sitting in yoga class after a strenuous hour of being berated by a room full of heat, which I was convinced was too high for the particular class that I took, side-swaddling my right arm underneath my cheek bone, facing my husband as he reaps his benefits off of his mat and practice, when our instructor’s calm voice soothingly asks of us one thing before lifting ourselves off of the mat to end class:
Find gratitude in all the things you have in your life…
And gratitude in the things that you don’t.
As the rest of class pushed themselves gently up from their preferred side to continue on with their day, I stayed lying still a heartbeat longer to process what I just heard. I think I was in momentary shock.
If I am being quite honest, I have been lacking, the past few months, a sense of satisfaction with the way life has turned out to be. With the advent of taking on 6 days of dentistry for the first time in my life at the turn of the decade, while trying to manage a bakery, dog sit a few days a month, and partake in an international project to Sustain the Maldives with Bogobrush, my world has been in a state of overwhelm that has been hard to combat. My only saving graces are my husband, Starting From Within’s guidance, a few books, and yoga class.
At times like these, the standard advice of listing all the things you are grateful for in order to keep chins high appear to be good advice … at first glance.
However, the practice of acknowledging all the things one can be grateful for can feel a bit anti-climactic for minimalists, whose lists tend to end soon after it’s begun. Let’s face it, the list of things for minimalists are generally not very long. Which leaves one feeling like there isn’t much to be grateful for.
But what if we take a step back and look at the big picture. The world remains balanced, whether we recognize it or not. In order to have complete understanding, we need to extend our gratefulness to encompass both sides of the coin. After all, a list in gratitude of only the things we own can rob us of our enoughness. In order to grow our appreciation for the life of our choosing, we must compliment this list with all the things we don’t have, in gratitude. Such as…
- Toxic relationships
- Social constructs and norms
- Peer pressure
- Societal expectations
- And for all minimalists, a long list of things that would otherwise steal our time and attention.
So when you feel life’s gotten away from you a bit, and that nothing seems to be going to plan, re-center and list all the things to be grateful for – whether you have them or not. Your world of positivity will expand, and perhaps you’ll start to notice a change in perception.
I mean, at least you’re not underwhelmed.
Blog Posts You May Enjoy:
- Hashtag JOMO: Joy of Missing Out
- A Lesson in Making Do with Where You’re At in Life
- Aspirational Clutter
Photographed: A few propagating leaves and East Fork‘s cake plates in Soapstone.