I found this piece, while looking through a notebook this afternoon. It was written earlier this autumn while on a short personal trip. Reading, I winced and my eyes welled with tears and I learned a gratitude for my own voice previously unknown to me.
The prick of anxiety, it pulsates up and down, from the tips of my fingers to the back of my eyes. It is when I slow that I feel it, surging again, poking fun at my fear of letting it in – I am already here it laughs, already inside, you are already holding your breath. It is me you are feeling you have forgotten you.
Laughing and pricking it continues – surging up and down, in and out, forcing the wave through me; and on its heels, stabbing at my heart its friend depression, the void of self-loathing; who are you, it says, who do you think you are, nobody wants to hear you – nobody wants to see what you have done…put the pen down and stop hoping…
My children need me – I am their garden – the voice under the voice begins to speak.
And my heart begins to lift.
As I sit with my eyes closed reminding myself to breathe, I clench my pen, I will not let go.
I will remember me
I will sit and breathe
I will remind myself again
I will close my eyes and open them
I will allow my feet to carry me, my eyes to see and my pen to scroll
I will speak
I will allow myself to feel weak and wretched and hungry for freedom from them and I will throw myself a lifeline of passion and belief, the wandering of the land and the movement of the brush.
The many alls that make one.
The beautiful variation that makes us whole and makes us breakdown because sometimes the cracks widen and we fall in, and sometimes we climb out.
All of it is beauty for how else would we understand? How else would we feel and know and be taught, to continue walking and looking and seeing – for each day there is a little more.
I have been thinking about gratitude with some intensity since yesterday. Last night I started a family gratitude practice for us to share during the month of November; after all it is the month of Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday. I awoke with thoughts surrounding gratitude. This morning I photographed a pumpkin sitting in a window captured by what I saw as a particularly lovely morning light, and I thought about gratitude.
But when I read the previous words I felt a gratitude that was new to me. Gratitude practices urge us to be thankful for the blessings that surround us, that is a beautiful thing. But the blessings within us, those are often left unrequited. Our faith, our inner voice, our humor, creativity, passion, bravery, uniqueness, honesty, willingness to fail or succeed, to be present, to sacrifice, or at least the willingness to try and to try again when we fall short. These are the beautiful blessings of us that warrant thanks too. This is not vanity, this is permission and acceptance. This is the beauty of believing that our voices are worth speaking, that our hearts matter; that they can bring change and inspiration and quiet comfort.
Be thankful for all that surrounds you, and be thankful for what wells from within you. For it is in gratitude that our blessings are given life.