How grateful can you be?

How grateful can you be?

This post is inspired by something I remember my Dad saying when he was in hospital having treatment for bowel cancer.  He had just had major abdominal surgery, and was recovering in his quiet, graceful way.  He said something to me like “imagine how many people were involved in helping me get better today”, and proceeded to list all the people that he could think of who were in some way involved in his stay in the hospital.  And not just the obvious ones like the Doctors, nurses and surgeons, he went deep and thought hard.  He included people like the people who transport the sheets to and from the laundry, the chef in the kitchen who prepared his food, the engineer who designed the machines that were used in the operating theatre, the scientist who discovered the combination of drugs for treatment, and many many others.

Today, as I sat peacefully in the sunshine enjoying a cup of tea on a break at work, I got to thinking about all the people I could be (and am) grateful for for helping give me this wonderful moment.  Obviously, the lovely lady in the cafe near my work who is always so friendly and knows how to make my tea just the way I like it.  But who else?  I sat for a good twenty minutes enjoying that tea, and here are just some of the people/things I came up with that had a hand in making it such an enjoyable experience:

  • The cow who produced the tons of milk I like to drink in my tea!  Also the farmer who owns the cows, the truck drivers who transported the milk, the supermarket staff where the cafe owner buys the milk from.  
  • The people who design and make the carton the milk comes in.  
  • Those that made the fridge that kept the milk chilled.  
  • The farmers who grew and harvested the tea.  Those that had a hand in turning it into the brew that sat in front of me today.  
  • The people who designed and made the teapot, cup and saucer my tea was served in.  The teapot maker was good, this particular teapot didn’t drip at all and kept the tea warm so my second cup was just right too. 
  • God or the Universe or whichever higher being you believe in, for delivering this sparkly, blue sky, warm day.  I appreciated the warm sunshine on the left side of my face even more after the particularly cold, rainy start we had to this week.  
  • The architects of the building I work in, for designing that beautiful little outdoor spot where I was able to sit in the sun, sheltered from the wind. 
  • The lady who massaged my neck and shoulders prior to my cup of tea so I was able to sit comfortably without the nagging headache that had plagued me for a couple of days. 
  • Everyone responsible for making, selling and transporting the table and chairs at the cafe. 
  • My beautiful client who i saw this morning who is a total inspiration and always makes my days brighter – with her “nothing will stop me” attitude to life, her determination and her sunny personality, spending time with her always puts me in a good mood. 
  • My husband and children, who also added to my good mood today.  We all managed to get ready for school and work without any stress or yelling, 
  • The people who planted the trees I was admiring while sipping my tea.  The colours in our little city at this time of year are just stunning.  
  • My bosses, who chose to buy the space for our studio in such a lovely setting. If I didn’t work there, or if our studio was in a different location, I never would have experienced this beautiful moment today. 
  • My husband for helping us make it work so that I can do a job that I love, a job that rarely feels like “work”. 
  • The workers at the Mint who made the money I paid with. 
  • The “gurus” I look to who have been instrumental in me discovering mindfulness, encouraging me to live more in the moment, and living life with more purpose and gratitude. 
On and on I went. I stopped when my phone beeped at me to go and teach my next session, but I could have stayed all day.  It was such a beautiful experience.  I wonder how much more joyful and satisfying life would be if we all practiced this approach more often.  It made me really be in the moment, and also I felt a strong connection to something bigger than me.  A part of the bigger picture, connected in some small way to people from all different walks of life, all because of this little cup of tea.  
Why not give it a go?  Pick any situation and apply my Dad’s suggestion.  I bet it lifts your spirits the same way it did mine today. 
Until next time, 
E xx
“When we rest, we rise”

“When we rest, we rise”

Image via Pinterest

The very wise Amy Taylor-Kabbaz from Happy Mama asked a group of busy Mums last week, prior to the Easter long weekend:

 “what would happen if you gave yourself four days to just switch off… if you just gave yourself these four days to breathe, rest, just be in the moment?…” 

So, this weekend, I gave myself a mini holiday.  In the midst of what has been a CRAZY, crazy few months, I took a moment, paused, got my breath back.  Reconnected.  Enjoyed the sunshine.  Reminded myself of the way my babies eyes sparkle when they laugh. Let all the jobs go. I just was.

When you take the time to slow down, it is amazing how many beautiful moments there are, in every day.  It is the simple little things that tend to bring the most joy.  Like taking our beloved dog of a walk in the late afternoon light. My husband took us on a walk I have never done before, literally out our back door, where we were rewarded with a spectacular view of the valley we live in.  

Image:  Emma Schmid 

It is the moments spent listening to our daughter “read” to me last night as she sat snuggled in a beanbag making up stories from the pictures in books.

It is the smiles in my parents eyes when we surprised them with an unscheduled late one afternoon.

It is the super tight hug from my oldest dearest friend when we caught up for a much needed chat.

It  is in appreciating my husband offering to cook the dinner.

It is in the excited chatter of my son as he tells me about his adventures with his Grandma and Poppy.
It is in the wandering through the markets savouring the feast for the senses.  

All of these things that I miss when I am in my normal “Mummy mode”, rushing from one thing to the next, always thinking of who has to be where, by when, with what.

How amazing would it be if we could take a part of that with us in every day?  What would we notice differently?  How different would life be if we focussed on being instead of our to-do lists?  It would be filled with different priorities.  The real priorities.  Spending time with loved ones.  Stopping to feel the sunshine on our faces or smell the roses.  It would be filled with giggles, snuggles and moments where it all just feels right instead of stressful, cranky, rushed, and mundane.  Who lets us decide these “priorities” anyway?  Why do we let ourselves get so caught up in the “doing” that we forget about the “being”?  When do we allow the “to-do” list to become more important than being present and appreciating the magic that surrounds us already?

It is my promise to myself that in this second school term of the year, I will take more time to “just be”.  To allow myself a little of this “holiday” time in each day, to really appreciate what is around me.  To be with my children.  To listen intently.  To love wholly.  To be in the moment.  I might not get it right all the time, but with consciousness comes a desire to do better.

So beautiful Amy T-K, to answer your question – what would happen if…?  What happens is an awakening.  A shifting of priorities.  A reminder of what is important.  A decision to get back to my core desired feelings.  To be creative.  To have moments of calm.  To connect.

And it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Thank you for the beautiful assignment.

Until next time,
E xx