Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Belated Daily Dose of Gratitude

 I have a teenage son.  He’s thirteen to be exact and a combination of belligerent, obnoxious, and omniscient, topped with a great big dollop of spoiled.  As an infant, I loved him too much.  As a child, I wanted too much for him.  As a pre-teen, I gave him too much and now as a teenager, he expects too much. 

On a good day, he arrives home from school happy, eager to see his mother and brother.  We don’t have many good days.  Monday was a little worse than typical.   And after a slightly worse than typical exchange of words and actions, I had trouble finding 5 things for which to be grateful.

After he stomped up the stairs to his room, he yelled back down to me,” CAN I SHAVE?”

“You’re asking for permission to shave?!?” I yelled back up to him.

“YES!  I wouldn’t want to do anything without asking for approval.”

Taking a deep breath…

“Yes.  You may shave,” I responded. 

The next morning while driving Teenage Mutant Son to school, I noticed his whiskered chin and stubbly face, and so I said, “I thought you were going to shave last night?”

“Yeah...well,” responding with a half-crooked smile, “I didn't have time.  I was too busy having a meltdown.”

I smiled.  I felt grateful that we could have a bad day but then get over it; that our anger and frustration with one another had a finite end.

And upon further reflection, I realized I am blessed in countless ways that I take for granted every day.   That even when I am having a bad day, I need to acknowledge:  I am never hungry, cold, without shelter or unclothed.
I realized I too am spoiled.  My yogic path is forcing me to examine myself and take stock in who I am versus who I want to be.  Who I want to be is someone who appreciates every day and what has been given to me, even if it is nothing more than the air I breathe.

 “Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.” – Buddha

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