I should have woken up this morning excited about the three-day weekend with my family. Instead however, two hours before our normal wakeup call I heard my husband beckoning for my help because E had thrown up. "Did he cough and gag himself," I asked still somewhat asleep "No, he really threw up... help!" I was awake now. "No, no, no, not again," I thought as I ran into the bathroom. We had just gotten over a month long cold that it had kept me home from work for several days. I didn't want to miss my class today, we had a great weekend planned, we're having guests next week and we have a ton to do... the list goes on.
The morning progressed as usual and it seemed like a one-time occurrence until I heard, "Oh no, help!" I walked into the living room to find Ethan's breakfast all over my husband, the couch, and our rug. I instantly sighed, dropped my head and bag and scrambled to clean it up.
By the time I was out the door, I knew I would be late. And, I hate being late, especially to teach- it makes class feel rushed and just weird. Of course, class wasn't as smooth as usual- I felt off and out of sorts- likely because of my preconceived notions. The day was starting to run amok and I was getting frustrated.
When I walked through the door after arriving home, the smell of puke permeated our house. Not only was I late to work, but I stunk it up as a teacher, and now E was most definitely sick.
I know the day could be infinitely worse but in that moment the day was pretty sucky. And, to make it worse, all I could focus on was how it was affecting our plans for the weekend. It just wasn’t how I had wanted it to all go.
To put it lightly, I had an attitude of craptitude.
Now, if you've read anything I've written, you've probably noticed that I'm fairly positive and try my damnest to make the best out of every situation.
Well, not today. At least not right off the bat. I didn’t check myself and tell myself to be positive. I tried to sit and write- I stewed and ruminated and stewed and ruminated. And then… I took a nap. Because gosh damn it, I had writers block and my stomach was starting to turn.
And then I woke up. I was still cranky as a mofo but had a better idea of what I wanted to write. I meandered into our office to look for one of my old text books, when I came across a gratitude journal I had won at a silent auction last year. I had only used it once; I practice gratitude daily but taking the time to sit and write it down had never stuck.
Yesterday, by chance, I had read an article by one of my favorite yoga trainers- Dana Santas about how to practice gratitude for happiness and health (here). To create a daily practice you have to be grateful and share your gratitude with others. So instead of grabbing the textbook, I grabbed my [empty] gratitude journal and sat. I gotta admit- I stared at it for a minute before opening it. But alas, I thought it would help me with the writer’s block so I turned the page.
The prompt told me to write three things I was grateful for in that moment.
But, how do I choose just three?
Ahhhhh, bingo. The point of the entire exercise. I reconnected with my brain, and really who I usually am. I have everything I could possibly need. Why would I let a couple of crappy hours ruin this weekend? Even if E was throwing up the entire time, was it really that bad? Nope. It took 30 seconds to change my perspective. Thirty seconds. All I had to do was think of what is going right instead of going wrong.
It’s easy to get sucked into having an attitude of craptitude. And guess what- you’re allowed. Take a few minutes or hours and let yourself stew, vent, and cogitate. And then, take 30 seconds and be grateful.
I know it’s not always that easy. Often times (I’m speaking to you mamas out there) we put ourselves at the bottom of the list and don’t allow ourselves the time to think. The stress of the chores, the kids, work and any of the numerous things you have in your life dulls the ability for intention and appreciation.
However, for the next 30 days I challenge you to join me in thirty seconds of gratitude- write it down, type it out. It doesn’t matter- let’s make time for ourselves, change our mindset, and be thankful the abundance with which we live.