I was completely lost in the sauce. I still am sometimes. Life is a practice, similar to yoga.
One of my yoga mentors recently said, “It is yoga practice, not yoga perfect”.
So simple it’s cliche. But isn’t life the same way?
Sometimes it makes no sense and most of the time it’s messy. (Maybe all of the time it’s messy?)
It was the pandemic, and I almost completely lost my business for the second time.
All of the wedding photography clients I had booked for 2020 changed to courthouse weddings, super secret backyard weddings, or no weddings at all and I watched a lot of money disappear in promised deposits. Everyone was scared. Nothing made sense.
I had 90% custody of 4 children and their schools shut down. Now all of a sudden I faced the nightmare of homeschooling them that I never would have signed up for not in one million years.
Life as we knew it disappeared and sucked.
At a certain point in time, I made a list of “mindful 10 minutes daily”.
It was a random list I scribbled with a pencil one morning over coffee, at a last-ditch effort to bring more happiness into my life. I taped it to my bedroom wall (where it still lives 3 years later - faded and torn).
I figured that when I felt lost in all of it, that I’d remind myself to just do one or some of those things that bring me joy for at least 10 minutes a day. I had this blind faith based on what all the spiritual gurus say, that if I focused on the good and just tried to grab at some gratitude, that more of it would find its way into my life.
Looking back, I think it was the start of my happiness journey.
Drinking coffee, doing some yoga, cuddling my kids, playing the piano, sunshine, dancing…. Simple things that were always available to me at home even though the world was closed.
I didn’t overcomplicate it, like I have the tendency to do. It wasn’t difficult, it just required practice. Patience. There were likely days where I didn’t do a single damn thing on that list. It was still there waiting for me the next day. Patiently. Softly, in pencil. Not yelling at me too loudly, but reminding me it was there. That i was still here, to be thankful.
Growing up a good little christian girl, the initial practice of being thankful likely started for me as a child. I was always taught to be thankful, grateful. But somehow for me the message seemed stuffed inside of a bigger message of “god is in control and just pray about it so there’s no option but to be thankful and grateful and not fully feel anything else because your life is not your own and you were bought at a price and none of this is even about you so your happiness doesn't matter.”
Something like that.
Whether that was the intention or not, the gratitude I had growing up seemed more out of fear of going to hell, than out of a true embodied gratitude that I could feel all the way into my bones.
The gratitude I have today feels different, thankfully. It feels like it lives inside of me. It feels like it resonates and reverberates. It feels like it has a lifeforce of its own and that the more I lean into loving my life, the more it loves me back.
And for that, I am grateful.