Several weeks ago a friend of mine started posting on her Facebook page a list of things she was thankful for. She called it the Daily Ten. Part of the Teach America program, this young woman works in a school where most if not all students are part of an Indian reservation. There are plenty of challenges. But even on days when it was a stretch, the combination of humorous, poignant and homey items, made for inspirational reading. I found myself looking forward to the end of each day when I could check it out. And I found myself thinking, this is really an idea worth imitating.
So last week I started. While my daily ten hasn't always made it to paper, I try to rehearse it at night before I go to bed. Although honestly, I think writing it down makes it even better. Here's what I'm noticing. I think of myself as a pretty grateful person, or at least a positive person, but even I have struggled this past year with bouts of depression or low energy. The first night I sat in bed thinking through my weary day about good things that had happened and it was difficult.
The next morning, realizing I would like to have 10 things to be thankful for by the end of the day, I decided to get an early start. Was there anything to be thankful for right now? Soon the list was started: breakfast with my daughter, a yummy omelet for the breakfast, slowing down enough to make smoothies which make any day special, healthy legs which made sweeping the floor a breeze. And so the day continued.
Not only did I find myself storing up things for my daily ten, I realized I was enjoying the moments, the individual moments that together stitch up a day. I was giving myself specific reasons to smile, which elevated my endorphin level and made me feel better. It's something as simple as which makes me realize there's a big difference between knowing what is good for you, and actually practicing it.
And there's the rub. We know the things that make us healthy, but it takes time to slow down and add them regularly into our days. That's when having a list, or starting a routine is helpful. Like realizing that I need more iron, so grabbing a steak out of the freezer, and adding a large helping of kale, which I did last night. Now I think, I should just make one night a week steak and kale night, so I don't forget. If it's part of my routine, I'll know I'm getting what I need.
Adding iron to my diet, giving thanks, regular yoga. If I add one practice at a time it doesn't have to be overwhelming - just like making bread, kneading a little bit of flour at a time until it's just part of the loaf. And in the meantime I can be grateful for the progress I'm making. Wait - is that number 3 or 4 for today?