Sunshine, Lollipops, Rainbows

Every time I go to the Buddhist temple, Sensei talks about something that seems to speak to me where I am right at that moment.

After so much pessimism and anxiety this week, I’d just decided that I wanted to focus more on the positive things in my life. The very next day, Sensei did his Dharma Talk about the practice of gratitude.

“I still get angry,” he said, “I still get annoyed, but by practicing gratitude, I have somewhere to come back to, another way of looking at a situation that keeps that anger from getting out of control.”

He went on to explain that Jōdo Shinshū Buddhism contains very little in the way of practice. There’s no monastic order, no hours and hours of meditation, no hitting people with sticks. The only thing a Shin Buddhist is supposed to do is recite the nembutsu sincerely (“Namo Amida Butsu,” which means, “I take refuge in Amida Buddha”). This is intended to bring awareness to the qualities of the spiritual Buddha that we wish to emulate, like compassion and, yes, gratitude.

OK. I get it. Gratitude it is.

Knowing that a gratitude journal isn’t my thing, I’m going to devote the next couple of blog posts to noting things for which I’m grateful. You know…things that don’t suck?

Tulips: Nope, they dont suck.

Today, I’m doing a list:

  • Baking cookies with the kids from start to finish with no one yelling, hitting, or asking me to wipe their butt.
  • The tulips in my flower bed.
  • Hugging my husband.
  • Snuggling in bed and reading books to my daughter.
  • Reading an engrossing novel with a glass of wine by my side.
  • Watching a movie that’s neither animated nor a kid-oriented nature show with my husband after the kids are in bed.
  • A well-shaken martini. (Thanks to my buddy Ken for teaching me this art.)
  • Walking to the library in the sunshine.
  • Lying next to my baby and hearing him laugh in his sleep.
  • Taking pictures of gingerbread cookies bathed in natural light from the kitchen window.
  • Gingerbread ducks with currant eyes also do not suck.

    Making an origami pelican and having it turn out like the picture on the instructions (mostly).

  • My kids singing Led Zeppelin’s “Black Country Woman” in the backseat of the car (the little guy singing, “Hey hey, Mama!” is especially awesome).

My husband read this list and said, “Wow, you are a ray of sunshine today!”

Well, I don’t know about that. I hesitate to claim that my cloudy mood is over and done with. Mostly now I’ve decided that I’m tired of feeling crappy emotionally and the least I can do is to start trying to steep myself in happy stuff and mixing metaphors rather than rolling around in the yucky stuff all day long.

We’ll see how long I can handle the treacle before I need something more substantial to chew on (like melancholy and malaise…mmm, satisfying!). At least if I’ve gotten myself into the habit of gratitude, it will be easier to see the light before I get dragged as far into the darkness as I have been lately.

8 Replies to “Sunshine, Lollipops, Rainbows”

  1. I, too, find it hard to keep a gratitude journal but thankfully I have a blog. When I feel thankful I blog about it. I really enjoyed seeing your list. It is always fascinating to see into someone else’s life. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. You’re welcome! I’ve read a number of comments from people on other blogs saying how much they like reading other people’s gratitude lists, so I was hoping there would be some interest in reading mine. Seems like there is!

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  2. Your gingerbread ducks look yummy and definitely non-sucky. Good luck keeping up the habit of finding the good. I am not good at that. (There I go again!)

    I smiled at the image of your kids singing Led Zeppelin. 🙂

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    1. I think finding the good is something I’m better at when I’m already in a good mood. I’m really hoping that getting into the habit will make the bad moods less bad.

      About the Led Zeppelin: my daughter actually devised a kind of duet/round thing she was directing us all to sing. “Mommy, first I’ll say, ‘Hey hey mama,’ then you say, ‘what’s the matter here?'”).

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  3. And good writing. That don’t suck.

    I’m glad you’re feeling a little brighter today. I’m inspired to have gratitude for:

    Freshly planted blueberry & pomegranate plants.
    Strawberries, peonies (squee!) & mandarin orange plants waiting their turn.
    Glorious Nor Cal Spring
    Being able to enjoy all this with my kids & husband without PPD

    Well, looky here. You brighten my mood a little, too! Thank you

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    1. I’m so pleased my list has helped you make your own list. I do miss the NorCal spring. *sigh* But the Utah spring is pretty nice, too, albeit a little snowier.

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    1. re: baby sleep laughing – he did it again last night. I thought he was going to wake himself up, he was laughing so hard.

      and thanks for the versatile blogger award! I appreciate it!

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