Thank You: A habit-breaking practice

It was one day too many that I woke up to a lovely, sunny day in a “Monday morning” state of being – ready to turn over and pull the covers up over my head, anything but gather myself to sit up, put my feet on the floor, enter the day.

I’m not talking about any particular dread of what I anticipated the day might hold – just an unruly streak of crankiness and a night of unrestful sleep.

That was the day I took a green Sharpie, printed THANK YOU on a small yellow post-it, and laid it next to the small alarm clock on my night table.

I intended THANK YOU to be a cue to help me enter my day with more awareness, and it worked.

Some days I was aware of softening as I alighted one after another on breath, spouse, health, roof, running water, the whole order of my physical world that had not been upended while I slept. On such days I was reminded that in spite of the fact that all does not depend on my personal acts of will and exertion, I do still have a place in the world.

And some days I was unpleasantly but equally usefully aware of a gap between my wanting to and my inability to feel thankful. Either way I was more whole, more awake, and able to bring that into my day.

THANK YOU is not just good manners, or WD40 for a civil society. It can be a habit-breaker.

When we habitually fail to notice what is around us, and that we are a part of it, we unconsciously say No thank you! to life, and cut ourselves off from aliveness and connection. Because everything in life has the vividness of its distinct existence, and the power of its connectedness.

Try a THANK YOU post-it on your night table, bathroom mirror, fridge, or screen saver.

Or maybe your habit-breaker is PLEASE or YOU’RE WELCOME.

Let me know how it works.

Summer Morning Arrythmia

The texture, color and mood of our lives is often set below the level of daily awareness.

A succession of grey days, cold and damp. Or sunny, hot and humid.  Weather that invites us outside or draws us indoors for a warming drink and fuzzy slippers, invites longer hours of activity or of rest.

And we each respond to these shifts of temperature, light, moisture, the movement of air, in our unique ways.

Gusty winds of late winter and early fall challenge me. An hour of weeding on a sunny mild day can nourish me for a week.

Still, in the midst of summer, activity can also increase my restlessness, upset my rhythm, and lead me to seek out a winter moment. All the more so if I have not had my fill of quiet and rest during the cold months.

Summer morning arrhythmia

by Sara Eisenberg

a persistent garden fly nips at my bare legs.

i have more sympathy for him than usual,

i cannot seem to land, swat myself from one

temporary landing to the next,

come and go amidst summer clamor,

a fruit out of season,

pining for the winter spruce

of lower-case

calm.

A Virtuous Woman Weary

“I’m sick and tired of ____ !” 

This phrase sounds to me now like dialogue from a bad sitcom.

But there were years, decades, when I spoke them regularly as a reaction to the demands life made on me.

I thought I expected a lot of myself.

In truth, I expected more of life – of family, friends, colleagues than of myself.

With large applications of honesty and kindness, and with ample healing support, I began to perceive, acknowledge, and take responsibility for behaviors and consequences.

That is when a true and life-giving weariness set in.

a virtuous woman weary of her trade

by Sara Eisenberg

weary of:

lying down

in the bed I’ve made

lying still

unable to exhale

lying by

appearance

omission

commission

lying to

shore up

look good

avoid trouble

lying in

the interest of

equivocation

prudence

a finely rendered manual of evasive tactics

whose spine shows signs of wear,

whose pages are smudged with thumbing.

ships free.