Project 52 Weeks: Week 11
People tell me that I have lucky horseshoes up my ass, especially when it comes to finding things, or meeting people at the right time. I would agree. How it all happens, I’m not exactly sure, but I am fairly certain that it has something to do with being thankful. In my view:
- Gratitude is a growing snowball of appreciation and good feelings.
- Good feelings lead to a good attitude.
- Good attitude leads to good intentions and good people.
- Good intentions and people lead to good situations.
- Good situations manifest more good things….and the cycle continues.
Nowadays, thanks to Oprah Winfrey, gratitude journals are being kept around the world. http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Oprahs-Gratitude-Journal-Oprah-on-Gratitude. Good stuff Oprah…but Maya Angelou will never call me to read me her new poem, so what can I say that’s really awesome?
I’ve started quite a few gratitude journals, but I haven’t been able to sustain them. I’d do one prose entry, and then it wouldn’t happen again for many months, if at all. Instead, I decided to do gratitude mind maps. Way easier. Less pressure. Stream of consciousness. Go.
The root of this gratitude that I keep in my life doesn’t come from Oprah; it comes from someone way more awesome. My grams.
- Ama was the 1st generation of women in Taiwan not to have bound feet.
- She went to university abroad (which was unheard of in that era).
- She she was fearless – like, I saw her kill a snake with her bare hands once.
- She immigrated to Canada when she was 65 years old.
- She never gave up learning English. Even when she was 90, she was looking words up in the dictionary.
- She was awesome, and she helped my mom raise me and my 4 siblings. I am who I am because of her.
Between the ages of 4 to 7 years old, I shared a room with my Ama. Our room had two twin beds with matching blue and green bed covers. I wish I could sleep so soundly as when I was a kid sharing a room with her.
Every night before bed, Ama would make me kneel next to her for a prayer before bed. I disliked it because I always felt like her prayers were long. She was thankful for everything. I couldn’t tell time then but I’d say that it often took 10 minutes for her to finish a prayer…seriously, 10 minutes kneeling on the top of your knees and not even sitting on your legs. Try it. You won’t last 5 minutes.
She never put anything down like a towel or a pillow. The hardwood floor was cold and I would struggle. Sometimes I would start kneeling, then sit cross legged and hope that she didn’t open her eyes to notice. I’d get back up on my knees when I felt she was wrapping things up. One day I complained.
“Ama…you prayed for so long. Why do we have to kneel? It hurts my knees. Can’t we pray in bed?” I said “I mean, can’t God hear us anyway?”.
She opened the covers for me to get into bed, then sat on the edge of my bed and said this:
“The prayer is only a small thing that we do to honour all of the good things in our life. The rain that falls that makes the grass, and the trees green. The birds. The sky. Having enough food to eat. Our healthy bodies. This house. Everything good in our lives… It hurts my knees too because I am old. We take the time to appreciate it and say thank you. It is just a small thing for everything in this world that we have.”
It was said in Taiwanese, and I can’t remember it verbatim but that was the gist of it. She didn’t really answer why we had to kneel, but I respected her and loved her, and she made me feel like it was important to her so I stopped complaining and knelt with her nightly. When I moved out of her room into a shared room with my sister Barb, I stopped kneeling because seriously…kneeling on hardwood sucks.
Three decades later, this gratitude has taken on another form. You will never find me kneeling on hardwood, but you can see me writing things down. Unlike Oprah, I can’t be so eloquent to come up with 5 poetic things to be thankful for. My mind is jumpy. I have a short attention span so this works better. Sometimes I am spotty on doing it, but it only takes only a few minutes. I like it because I can look back to see what was happening in my life.
I do it in the morning before I get busy doing other things. I reflect on yesterday and do it up. When I look back, I see that I am often thankful for technology, finding things, free things that come my way, and people that I know who are good people. Some of the people who read this blog will look and have no idea that I include them in my thoughts…there you go… and for those of you who don’t spot yourself in these entries, rest assured, I’m sure you’re in others. If we hang out sometimes then chances are, you’re in one of these bubbles.
If you are visual, I invite you to try it out. It’s helped to get me through this very long horrible winter. It’s a visual prayer of thankfulness.
Let me know if it works for you. There’s a lot to be thankful for and like Ama said, this is just a small thing that we can do to honour all of the good things in our life. No kneeling involved.