I started writing this post earlier in the week, and since starting it, my reasons for being grateful have massively increased.
I'm trying to flip unpleasant things on their heads so that I feel more positive about life.
It started a couple of years ago when I was hanging up socks on the airer to dry. As a family of four, we get through 28 socks a week and they all need washing, removing from the machine, flattening out and hanging up. Then they need pairing. It's tedious and we don't have a tumble drier.
It occurred to me as I flattened out different coloured socks, school socks, football socks, running socks, how lucky I am. I'm lucky that I have all these socks to hang out to dry. If any of these socks were missing, it would be a tragedy. I do not want to have fewer socks, unless it's summer. So I turned it into a gratitude meditation.
I also feel very stressed out about housework. I don't feel I have enough time or energy to get everywhere looking nice. And yet I'm really lucky. I'm lucky that I have space, that I have security, that my only concern is that the dust has piled up a bit too high.
Unpacking food shopping is another hatred of mine. Unloading bags, sorting it out into where it goes, trying to play Tetris with the fridge. I find it stressful and sometimes overwhelming. But I'm so lucky, lucky to have all that food, lucky to be able to just go out and get what we all need and not worry.
I've hurt my back and I had to cancel classes for the first time ever. I don't like it because I don't get sick pay. But I'm lucky, so lucky, that I can listen to my body and give it the rest it needs. That I have enough knowledge to either go to the right people to help me heal, or help my own healing. That my profession is to encourage people to listen to their bodies and do what's right for them, so I can act with integrity and without losing face when I teach a class and say 'I'm not going to demonstrate this pose because I'm looking after my back.'
I'm not saying that you have to tolerate unreasonable behaviour by trying to flip every negative situation into an attitude of gratitude. Sometimes it can be unhelpful to try to look on the bright side. I stayed in a job I didn't enjoy because I told myself I was lucky to have it.
Since starting my reflections on gratitude, a few other things have happened. Hurting my back has led to me taking better care of myself and sleeping better. This has given me extra energy. It turns out that I need it.
The news is horrifying at the moment. A few days ago I decided to do what little good I can, that is within my power, and contact friends who own local businesses to see if we could collectively fundraise. I hoped to raise £500 in virtual raffle ticket sales for the Red Cross's Ukraine Crisis appeal.
The following day, the local pub, The Post Office Arms offered a crate of wine as a prize. So did Daisy Chain Jeweller's. I wrote a press release and the Hemel Gazette published it. We've raised over £1,000 in three days. Now we also have a weekend's Hot Tub hire from Wicked Tubs, houseplants, vouchers, fitness and Pilates sessions, prints of beautiful artwork and I lose track of what else, the prize list just keeps growing.
So here's what I am grateful for today. I am grateful for the community I live in. I am grateful for the friends and other local businesses who were able to contribute a raffle prize. Many of these businesses have found the last two years of restrictions difficult which makes their prize donations doubly generous. I am grateful for the friends, class members and others who are buying raffle tickets. I am grateful that I am able to make a small difference.
So please stop and think about whether you can flip a negative situation into an attitude of gratitude.
The raffle draw is on Friday 11th March which is 8 days away. I'm hoping that tickets continue to be sold. Thank you for being a part of this!
Please visit the Shop to see the list of prize donors and to buy your tickets. Please also consider buying from these businesses because earning a living when you're self-employed is hard work!
Photos show some of the raffle prizes from Sign with Anna, Dream Lights, Creative H, and Lizzie Martell Illustration.