Thanks for Washing the Dishes!
June 20, 2011
When you take time to appreciate, especially the little things, reality opens up to you. It slows time. It makes life more manageable. You can't appreciate things and be in a panic at the same time. You can't feel the emotion of gratitude and be anxious. It's chemically different in your body. It switches the channels. So when you feel those emotions of panic starting to swirl, take charge right away. Literally start looking for things to be grateful for, inside your body or outside of it, it doesn't matter. Appreciate and love the view from your garden window, think about how your pets help comfort you and thank them, consider books you love and bless them and their authors with appreciation, think of a kind act and remind yourself of how good it felt to say thank you and feel it.
When you live in appreciation, even someone acting out can become a thing of beautiy and you can appreciate it for what it is. "Thank you for reminding me to take some time for myself." "Thank you for protecting that boundary." "Thank you for making sure that doesn't happen to us again." Sometimes it may need to be followed with some redirection. "Have you noticed that we're older now?" "Did you know that we respect our husband's right to say that, it's not the same situation anymore." "We're adults now, and this is my adult sexual partner. It's ok for him to do that and it's ok for me to say not now. But I think we'd appreciate if we use our voice not our panic system to say that."
It's so easy to get sidetracked on a daily basis and forget what's going on around you. To live in one's head, not one's heart. To give yourself a "to do list" and forget to give yourself a "to appreciate list." We pile on the commitments, the obligations, the expectations, the barrage of things that distract us from enjoying our human heritage of feeling something and having the ability to communicate it, even to ourselves.
It's as important to show gratitude when your headmates do something good as it is to show them gratitude for the roles they play in your life.
For example, Hart of Crisses feels guilty for being the little that other littles protected. But we thank her because by letting them protect her, she was able to do a really important job of protecting and literally embodying our innocence, caring, empathy, goodness and more. We always behave towards them with gratitude. She is grateful to Tina for taking the worst of the abuse and pain, and to Shane for taking the shame and embarrassment, and to Hed/Rane for being the one who got yelled at all the time. When you recognize and appreciate the roles that everyone takes in your system (even the grumpy ones!) it changes your relationships. To change how a day is going, just turn on the gratitude switch in your system. Let's take some time to do this right now. This paragraph uses inside examples of things we appreciate -- Hart for embodying our innocence, Tina for sacrificing herself to contain the pain, Shane for walling herself away with the shame, Rane for standing up for us, literally, when we were being verbally abused.
So here's an exercise for you: Write out the sentences -- full feeling sentences -- for 10 things you appreciate. Do this now, on any medium or piece of paper. If you like the results, start a gratitude journal. You write out your appreciation for things inside or outside your body. Here's 10 real "outside my body" examples relevant to me today:
- Fate, thank you for bringing Chris home safely last night.
- Creative muse, thank you for helping me string together over 7,000 words yesterday.
- I am so happy and grateful that I have two brilliant and beautiful children.
- Gizmo (kitty), thank you for keeping me company when I write.
- Weather, thank you for the natural air conditioning this morning since it will be hot later.
- I am so happy and grateful that I have food in my freezer.
- Thank you Money, for helping me pay my bills this month.
- Thank you Lees Quality Tires, for charging under $20 to fix my flat Saturday.
- I really appreciate good quality repeat clients -- thank you, Money and Fate.
- And I am so happy and grateful that I took the chance on ordering Writing Fiction for Dummies; it's the best book on writing I've seen to date.
Those are all examples outside my head, but you can mix and match, change the wording but make sure you really feel the appreciation and love generated by the statements. It may change your day, and change your life.