Stressed? Have a Cup of Gratitude.

Feeling stressed this holiday season? Try making yourself cup of gratitude.

This morning I had an unprompted moment of clear and utter gratitude. I was sipping my morning cuppa, looking around my home (which is also my office building), and had a sudden and deep realization that my life is extraordinarily wonderful. Literally, it is in no way ordinary, and I am full of wonder at what I have created with the life that was handed me.

Now, these past few weeks I've been in a bit of a funk. Not deep enough to earn the title "depression" but deep enough that I haven't much felt like putting up the Yule decorations or going to the social events that pile up this time of year. I was dwelling on all the things I don't have - family members who have died, friendships that have ended or faded, the lack of time and funding for  the projects I want to complete, and on and on. Nothing life-shattering or even particularly serious, just a low-grade sense of lack and dissatisfaction.

This morning that all shifted.

What led to this seemingly miraculous moment? Remember that Zen saying: "Cut wood, carry water?" Attend to the day-to-day needs of your being, so that you can simply be. That's it. For me, that looks like "Meditate, exercise, eat healthy food." When I take the time to simply be fully in my body, to be completely in the present moment, to be still and listen, clarity comes. And with it comes compassion, for myself, for those I love, for all beings in this crazy world. And a heart full of gratitude for this extraordinary, wonderful life of mine.

Then, only then, can I begin to imagine, plan, and do. Maybe I'll even pull those decorations out of the attic . . .