Week One Re-cap: Beauty, Love and Magic
I have been following the Tiny Prints Gratitude Challenge for seven days. I haven’t found the silver bullet to a new and improved life yet. I still have dark circles under my eyes from lack of sleep. My kids still don’t have play dates and fun activities lined up for the rest of the summer. My inbox still reads “103 unread” emails though I just got it down to “0” at 1am last night. One of our cars still has a big dent from a fender-bender that happened on April 17…
But I do have something to show for. Three words. Beauty. Love. And Magic.
Beauty. These little gratitude exercises my team designed, and the very act of naming my blog and writing these posts, raised my antenna for beauty. Consciously or subconsciously, in the last seven days I have begun to look for it everywhere. There is the obvious. My daughter’s impish grin, the dahlias at the farmer’s market, the gusto with which my four-year-old tosses a water balloon, Cecilia Bartoli singing Mozart arias… Then there’s the not-so-obvious. The beauty that comes from contrast and from finding the silver lining in the process. Living the trade-offs between career and motherhood (previous post), battling loved ones’ serious illnesses (maybe future post), and aching so deeply for something long ago lost (maybe never a post)… The conventional wisdom of “you find what you look for” held true the last seven days. The Challenge asked me to look for good and negative things to appreciate every day. And I found more beauty in the process.
Love. This has been a by-product of The Challenge. Sounds totally sappy I know. And probably makes me lose credibility with anyone from work who reads this post. But this is the honest truth. In the past seven days, I have become more aware of how much love surrounds me. Though my kids are two and four-going-on-five, we’re still working through separation. No goodbye of any type takes fewer than a good 10 minutes at our house, with kisses, hugs, hearts, “nonnies” (Eskimo kisses) of every variety each performed at least a few times by each kid. This ritual used to make my blood pressure rise a little bit. In the morning my heart would be already in the office as I got ready to walk out the door, worrying about being late for my first meeting. At kids’ bedtime my heart would be with the hubby who might be waiting with a glass of wine on the couch… I would always be living in the next-moment. But in a conscious effort to appreciate, I’ve had to try to ignore the next thing and just focus on appreciating. So I revel in those kisses, hugs, hearts and “nonnies”. I sing a couple of extra lullabies. I snuggle a few minutes longer at every opportunity. And I found so much more love that was already there…
Magic. There’s a level of naivite in the premise of this whole gratitude exercise. I see so much implicit hope, optimism and appreciation twinkle in my kids’ eyes. Everything is magical. But with age, skepticism developes as we pile on layer upon layer of “stuff” that dim the twinkle in our eyes. The Gratitude Challenge has demanded that we strip away some of those layers and show some vulnerability. You have to admit that sharing these seemingly sappy sentiments takes courage on my part. But I guess it’s worth it if it restores some magic in the proces. I feel my eyes twinkle more often now with hope, optimism and appreciation as I find more beauty and love in my life.
Seven days. Three words. No new and improved life. But who needs it when you find the beauty, love, and magic that’s already there?