Inhale Gratitude. Exhale Love.

“Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass.  It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.”

I love quotes like this: inspirational, hippie-like mantras that you smile at when things are going good and you think back on a “hard” time and feel all enlightened and strong because you got through it.  I realized today that I only live these quotes when looking backwards.  When I actually think back to the difficult time without any kind of dramatization, I hate to admit that I probably handled it with less than passable grace.  Today, when everything was going wrong, I decided to experiment and handle it in a different way.

I’m crying outside of a car repair shop. Why am I crying?  My car is going to need an expensive repair, my dog is being held captive by a crazy woman in Norcal, and freelancing has proven to be way more difficult than I thought.  I am agitated because there are a million other things I’d rather spend money on than fixing my car, stressed because I’m worried about Bolt, overwhelmed because I feel like things aren’t going my way, and scared that things aren’t going to turn out the way I want them to.

I am agitated because there are other things I want to spend my money on than my car, but somewhere not far away there’s a father who doesn’t know how he’s going to feed his kids, a single mom working double shifts to make rent in a bad neighborhood, and kids going to sleep with full minds and empty stomachs.  How lucky am I to be able to take care of this on my own?  I’m so fortunate it’s something I don’t even think about.  How lucky am I to have a car to fix when I’ve met people who’s 10 mile commute takes hours because they don’t have a way to get there?

I’m stressed out about my dog and worrying about what’s going to happen.  But in this crazy world there are people missing people who aren’t going to come back.  There are people who believe they aren’t loved, people who don’t have a friend to miss.  There are families who leave each other in fear of what the day might bring, and kids who wander the street uncertain about where they will sleep that night.  But here I am on a sunny day in a safe city worrying about something that hasn’t happened.  My worried imagination is a daydream to someone’s reality.

I’m overwhelmed because things aren’t going my way when there’s children dying and getting sick and parents who can’t do anything about it.  There are people who can’t do anything but watch the people they love slip away from them, who pray every night for a miracle that won’t ever come, who lose sleep over an inevitable future and I’m complaining that things aren’t going my way.  Somewhere close there’s unimaginable heartbreak, silent goodbyes that haunt dreams, and pain I’ve never felt, but I’m crying here?

I’m discouraged freelancing, and scared that things aren’t going to turn out the way I want them to.  Close by are kids with broken dreams who think no one loves them, cities that only know poverty and war, plans of escape that may never happen and here I am freaking out because things aren’t happening fast enough.

I realized I had stopped crying, but I felt a different kind of overwhelmed.  I felt a crazy disconnect with my life, like it wasn’t mine, like it was being borrowed and demanded appreciation.  I feel so thankful for it, with that obligatory joy that sometimes creeps in in shavasana, or at church, or laying lazily on the beach with someone I care about.  How special are bad days?  They are such perfect opportunities to reflect on how lucky we are, how small our disappointments, and how much we are loved.  How lucky are we for our temporary pain, so that we can appreciate painless days even more!  I’m so thankful for disappointment, because in the end we can look back with the story and laugh!  And how amazing is the feeling of being loved: knowing it’s all going to work out, knowing it’ll all be okay, and knowing you can always make more of it.  Love’s the only feeling in the world that is infinite.  With the rest of this amazing day, let’s make more of it.

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