About a week ago, in a break from 18-hour days filled with consulting, teaching yoga, doing a little day job to make ends meet, and pitching new business, I posted to friends a list of things I’ve been grateful to discover (or rediscover) as a result of the downturn. Largely in response to the decline in incoming funds, what has increased in the past year is my sense of resourcefulness, my sense of priorities, and my ability to see beauty in the simplest moment. Although it really felt great to write the list for my own benefit, I hesitated to post it. Truth be told, the worry that people might judge me for my struggles crossed my mind more than once.
But of course, life being the generous experience it is, this small act of transparency brought blessings back to me many times over. Friends from around the world emailed and even called to say how much the gratitude list brightened their days. Others posted their own sources of gratitude, ranging from the smallest to the most impactful. My most fashionista friend confessed enjoying scouring sale racks in her drive to maintain her carefully-tended image. Another friend from childhood shared her delight in rediscovering the local free paper as a source for finding great FREE cultural events. Friends in London whose work situation forced them to share an apartment with another professional couple expressed gratitude for the deepening in their friendship and sense of community with this other couple.
All that in perspective, here’s my little list:
- Cortados (Latin lattes probably made with Cafe Bustelo) from little corner bodegas for $1.25.
- Rockstar haircuts from Chinatown for $25.
- Levi’s AWESOME skinny jeans.
- Selling stock to make ends meet during a lean spot did not kill me – and recognizing the blessing in having stock to sell!
- Dry cleaning bags cut into squares make great doggy-curb plastics.
- Threading instead of waxing saves a LOT of money.
- Happy hour with friends at home is a lot more relaxing.
- QiGong from the little underground places is AMAZING and 1/3 the price of a spa massage.
- I can still paint my own toenails.
- Making birthday gifts always was and is still more fun.
- I don’t miss frivolous shopping at all.
- Consignment shops in NYC are full of AMAZING stuff.
- Coconut oil is a FABULOUS deep conditioner.
- Theme parties beat lounges hands down.
- I have more music already than I could ever listen to in a year.
- My doggy likes broccoli more than doggy treats.
- This meditation/yoga stuff really works on managing stress and keeping peace of mind.
- Hot rollers instead of salon blowouts.
- A puppy who insists we start and end each day with a session of playtime.
Right after posting the list I realized the holiday season is about to kick off with Thanksgiving just next week. While I always love how the holidays give us a reason to draw together, I am already feeling a tender respect for all that I, my friends, and my family have been through in the past year or so. Health, employment, living situations, relationships – just thinking about it inspires a sense of quietness and appreciation. While that list above could go on indefinitely, the thing I’m really happy about is recognizing how full and beautiful my life is at any given moment, and how much grace we all experience in authentically sharing our lives with each other.