Monday, January 31, 2011

Gratitude Attitude

Today I was thinking a lot about gratitude and how it relates to attitude.

And, they both rhyme! Gratitude, attitude. Other words that rhyme:

vagina, china
Britney Spears, bring me beers
penis, hygienist
anus, gayness

A recurrent self-help theme over the past ten years or so has been to be thankful, to show gratitude. In doing so, one supposedly gets perspective on all that is good in his/her life and minimizes feelings of negativity about what’s not so great.  Keep a gratitude journal, they say. Write down five things every day that you are thankful for. Focus on the little stuff because it’s in those moments that life is truly lived.

Practicing being thankful actually dates way back to biblical times:

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God. (Thessalonians 5:18), and numerous other verses that I don’t know because I don’t read the Bible very often.

The thing about gratitude is, it’s terribly easy to do when things are going great. Conversely, it’s a royal pain in the ass to do when things suck. That said, I think the true measure of someone's character is found in the dark times. It’s easy to be strong, upbeat and on top of your game when it’s all going swimmingly. It’s much tougher, however, to keep your wits about you and your attitude bright when you’re under that dark cloud of doom.

I don’t know about you but I want to kick someone in the head when they tell me to count my blessings when I’m feeling down. What f’ing blessings? Can’t I just wallow in self pity?

Truth be told, however, switching over to gratitude brings a change in attitude (more rhyming). Remember that the next time you’re feeling particularly crabby.

Here’s where I found gratitude today as I ran in snow and 8 degree temps (I look like I’ve been crying hysterically or smoking pot. I swear, I wasn’t doing either. I think my eyeballs froze):


  • I am thankful I am not any uglier today.
  • I am thankful I can run for 30 minutes today. Three months ago I could not run for one minute.
  • I am thankful I have the resources to go to PT, to see a doctor, to get massages. Not everyone can and does have this at their fingertips.
  • I am thankful I can swim, run with the pussy posse in the pool and do yoga. My body is asking me to be gentle with it and this is how I can respond.
  • I am thankful it’s cold because it is winter and it is supposed to be cold. Without cold there would be no feelings of orgasmic ecstasy when it got warm again
  • Most of all, (gritting me teeth here) I am thankful for this hip stress fracture. Bullshit.  NO. Not thankful for it. Can’t say that. But, I have learned some lessons from it. It has been a reminder that balance is needed in all things. If you forget that, you will be harshly reminded and it might be too late. This is an analogy for life as we know it. Get out of balance in any area: family, friends, food, alcohol, spirituality, work, exercise – and it will eventually bite you in the ass.

I got bit hard. And, it still hurts.

Sometimes we’re under the illusion that we can keep it all up. That we’ve got it all under control. However, we may be barely holding it together. Just by the skin of our teeth. On some level we know this, but we ignore it. Deep down it causes us anxiety. Maybe we don’t sleep or eat well. Maybe we lash out at those around us. We know the straw will break the camel’s back if we don’t find more balance.

We get caught up in the more is more cycle. It’s like we're so steeped in our fears of being incompetent, that we go crazy over- compensating. More training. More money. More activities. More square footage. More food. More dieting. More texting.

More has gotten the reputation for being better. But, in actuality and paradoxically, less is more. Trust me on this one.

You know how I like to bring out my favorite little book sometimes for inspiration. A Touch of Wonder by Arthur Gordon.

I love what he said about once meeting Margaret Mitchell who wrote “Gone with the Wind.” Ms. Mitchell reported that the writing of GWTW was going well until she read the manuscript of “John Brown’s Body,” another Civil War classic. Ms. Mitchell was so intimidated by the the depth and content of writing, that she was paralyzed. She said, “John Brown’s Body gave me such a  terrible case of the humbles that it was months before I could find the necessary faith in myself.”

Funny thing is, she wrote freaking Gone with the Wind, and I’ve never even heard of John Brown’s Body.

Moral of the story of all of this rambling: Never underestimate your abilities, your power. Keep life in balance and have faith. Find gratitude even when things feel hard, very hard.

Going to find some eye drops,



  1. Gratitude has been top of mind for me lately - after my daughter's leukemia diagnosis, it's stunning to me how people I don't even know have had such thoughtful, KIND things to say. Life is tough sometimes, but it's infinitely easier if you're able to see past the suck, and be grateful for the good.

  2. um first ! i never get first on a blog

  3. Giraffy - so sorry to hear about your daughter. You are the perfect example of someone with character: someone who can see the good in all that is going on.

  4. o.. glad that is over. there is a huge life lesson in getting humbled. i get this.

  5. "I am thankful I am not any uglier today"

    LOVE this!

  6. i do this everyday. whether its being grateful for my crappy least i have one. or grateful (in a odd way) for my daughters makes me appreciate the simple things she does everyday. ive had to learn try to turn each shitty situation into a positive one, otherwise i would be a NUT CASE!!!! sometimes i feel like im hanging on by the skin of my teeth....but then i find myself thankful that i have that one last layer to hold on by. great post!

  7. There is great deal of imbalance in my family right now. but we actively working to fix it. Tis the reality of working retail.

  8. That's funny. Just today I was complaining about my job and someone said, "be happy you have one". I just about bit the guy's head off, and then I apologized and we laughed about it. Strange coincidence that you have the same theme. Must be the weather.

    I am grateful that even though my job pisses me off sometimes, I love the people I work with, and that my boss in California is OK with me going home early on days like today.

  9. Thanks for the thought provoking entry.

  10. So on the money, especially the part about finding gratitude when things aren't going your way. For me, it's always a process. I have to go through a few ugly stages before I reach that point of gratitude. But I do try...

  11. I occasionally listen to a morning radio guy who asks his listeners to think of three things for which they're grateful. I hear it at about 6:15 in the morning, after I've put in my hour at the gym and on my way to a ten-hour day at work, but I have a great job and I have the resources and the physical ability to go to the gym, and I have a car to take me back and forth... that's more than three, right there! :) Thanks for another great post!

  12. I am thankful for SUAR. No, seriously. It's my mandatory daily reading assignment. It keeps everything in perspective and reminds me that my life is light enough that I can laugh freely over the silliest things.

  13. You are absolutely amazing! How can you be so funny and so down to earth and such a huge example to me all at the same time! Woman, you are a rockstar.

  14. Awesome awesome post - well said. Thanks for the reminders.

  15. Wow! Eight degrees? I would need Britney Spears to bring me some beers. That's COLD!

  16. thats my favorite verse. Well said. and yes, the stress fracture was a blessing in diguise. You are an amazing woman!

  17. What do you want eye drops for? You have pretty eyes just as they are. A little startled looking, but running in warm weather will do that for you sometimes. Yes, 8 F is warm. It's -20 F here most of the day today and that's without windchill. So enjoy the warm weather running. Be grateful, in other words.

  18. Wise words indeed. Very well said.

    I hope you are thankful for your writing abilities. You have a remarkable talent with the written word. You're like a moderately foul-mouthed Confucius. Thanks for making me think. My wife thanks you too.

  19. Balance is so important and so hard to maintain! I constantly acknowledge the importance of this simple 7 letter word - but am constantly pulled a million different directions . . . generally all trying to get me out of balance.

    Today I am thankful for
    1. warm coats, gloves, hats, boots, car and house - we are expecting blizzard conditions with wind chills in the -30 range
    2. a son that turned 19 yesterday and is as different as night to day from my oldest son
    3. a well paid job with wonderful health benefits that I love
    4. the ability to travel for vacations - Colorado in January, Florida in March, New York in May and who knows where else later this year
    5. the chance to blog and meet wonderful people like YOU!

    Peace and Joy to you and your family!

  20. I am grateful that I don't have to run in 8 degrees. :) I am grateful for my 60s and 70s in January with the occasional 82 degree day thrown in there.

    Seriously a great post. We all need a reminder to be grateful. My mom used to encourage me to say thanks on a regular basis for all of the wonderful blessings in my life. It is such a humbling exercise.

  21. I was pretty much on your same wave-length today, writing a post about this same subject (just not so eloquatley :)). And I am SO glad you aren't grateful for your hip fracture...drives me crazy when people think these things make them strong. :)

    Looking forward to seeing you soon! :)

  22. Amen girl, amen!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. Sometimes you have to go through the bad to really appreciate the good. Why is that? At least that is how it is for me. Good post.

  24. Love it!! The Pussy Posse! HAHAHA! I have a web-site for you to check out! LOL!

  25. So very well said and quite simply I'm thankful for this reminder.

  26. penis, hygienist do not rhyme. Maybe i'll give you slant rhyme. but not really.

    my daughter has a stress fracture in her knee. The good news - it's on her growth plate, which means her growth plates are still open, which mean she is still growing - and she is happy for that because she wants to be taller than 5'1".

    But she is on crutches for at least 2 weeks and maybe no karate for 5 weeks. Poor dear. I know you understand!

    I am grateful for my amazing husband, natural peanut butter, dark chocolate, no SNOW in Florida, and tweenage daughters who aren't beasts.

  27. Thanks for posting this today. Great post!

  28. I kinda felt like I was reading a long lost (really long lost) Dr. Seuss book with the rhyming in the beginning :)
    I love how only you can be funny yet serious all in one post.

    Sometimes I have to sit back and remind myself of what I'm grateful for when I think times are tough being seperated for the man I love yet again and all the stress it sometimes causes in our relationship. Yes we have been apart for the last 5 weeks, but at least this time it's not due to deployment. I'm grateful he is training for a job right now that doesn't mean he is out there risking getting shot at or blown up. But i'm also grateful for what the military has taught us and how in the end being seperated has actually made us stronger as a couple.

  29. We had it all in this post: theology, philosophy, and pussey possee. Only SUAR.

  30. Love your eyes, even if frozen, they are beautiful.

  31. Orgasmic ecstacy when it gets warm again. I sure hope it gets warm soon!

    Very true that "switching over to gratitude brings a change in attitude" So many things to be thankful for. Doesn't change the fact that a broken hip sucks. I got so very easily irritated with the "count your blessings" or "its God's will". In fact, I just got so very easily irritated in general for the whole 4 months....

    This is really a great post. So many good points! You really got me thinking this morning. Thankyou for that! You'll beat this Beth, without a doubt.....

  32. Thank you for this post. I need to be more grateful when things aren't going my way! Well written and well said! :)

  33. "Funny thing is, she wrote freaking Gone with the Wind, and I’ve never even heard of John Brown’s Body." It's all about knowing our own worth, isn't it? Good post!

  34. Love this! Often, it's by experiencing and overcoming adversity that we learn to truly appreciate all that is good in our lives.

  35. I am very grateful for your blog that never fails to both inspire and make me spew coffee over my laptop as I crack up…

    Eh, you know what they say - Britney Spears - bring me beers -


  36. So

    Love. This.

    My fav: ". That said, I think the true measure of someone's character is found in the dark times. "

    Could. Not. Agree. More.

    Thanks for this post.

  37. Amen, sister! You Rock!

  38. Once again, an inspiring post. It sets us all back a few steps in reflection.
    AND... pat on the back for the 30 min. run and tackling the cold. I'm with you there!

  39. I preach balance all the time. For 3 months now there has been no balance. Sucks.

    I call bullshit. Those are weed eyes. You were pretending to go for a run while you were actually toking up outside your car in a snow storm... OR, while outside your car you got plowed by a big plow truck haha.

    What am I thankful for? My wife and my pups. Everything else is just a bonus in my eyes. Not being able to run either, I know I always took advantage of running when I had good days. It is what it is. How soon we forget how much our current state sucks after one good 20 miler huh? :)

    Stay warm out there. We are getting "a half inch coating of ice" tonight woo hoo!

  40. Yesterday was my birthday. This post was a perfect present. Thank YOU!

  41. wonderful post. and a powerful reminder that even in the dark, we are very blessed :)
    Thank you.

  42. "Moral of the story of all of this rambling: Never underestimate your abilities, your power. Keep life in balance and have faith. Find gratitude even when things feel hard, very hard."

    I LOVE this! Thank you for posting it!

  43. Great post - perfect timing! I had one of "those days" yesterday - complete with crying at work - and I've been trying to remind myself to be grateful and especially NOT to take my frustration out on those around me. I know this sounds cheesy, but I'm also trying to focus on loving myself, injury and all. Our bodies are not the enemy and we need to love them so they can heal!

  44. Great post! I just started reading your blog and absolutely love it! Thank you for writing!

  45. I think it takes a lot of strength and character to find the silver lining in some situations. Pity parties are a lot easier, but don't really make us feel any better. (that's what wine is for)

    You are doing an excellent job.

  46. Love GWTW...i pick it up and read it often...often just re-reading passages here and there that I particularly like. But these days, I stop reading right before Bonnie dies. I just can't stand to read it any further. It's a beautiful story though, don't you think? And very fitting given your message of gratitude and maintaining balance, which clearly Scarlet could never do...and look what that got her. I also have never heard of John Brown's Body. hmmm.

  47. Pearls of wisdom here... every bit of it resonated with me.
    From the wallowing to the change-over to Gone With the Wind.
    I always learn something when I read your blog.

  48. My sister from another mister. My friend who lives near Bend (Oregon). My pal whose name is not Sal.

    This was awesome. The past two nights I have actually shut the laptop down and sat with my family to watch TV or play some game with Chico (no clue how it goes and it bores me to tears but I'm there.) And I realized that I was out of balance with that. So much time spent looking for work and setting up the new site that I was away from the important people even though they were there to support me the entire time.

    Here is one of my favorite things about you. I just read illegal farting in Malawi and then come back to this one. That is real. That is not pretend or a put on. You are you and I love that about you. Stay true and life will be grand!

  49. A gratitude journal might be a little much for me, but I do stop every now and then and think about what I Love about life, right now. Having a hard time adjusting to life in CO and not in DC meant realizing how GOOD things are here, and accepting that it's OKAY to miss that city.

    Anyway, not the same as an injury that sidelines you for months, but as always you post something that we can all relate to on some level. :) 30 minute RUN?! WHOOP!

  50. Great post. I like the phrase "case of the humbles."