The air is biting, much past the pleasant fall crisp. Streets are blissfully quiet, a benefit of an early-Sunday-morning walk. For once, the air seems clean, instead of its usual putrid, and I am trying my best not to take huge, unladylike gulps of it. It’s delicious, in a very soul-replenishing way, nearly impossible to explain, except that you feel more alive. Joyfully alive.
I was supposed to go to church this morning. I woke up early, everything. And missed the bus. Thinking I could catch a different line, I walked over, and missed that one, too. Some days something are just not meant to be. After contemplating walking back to my apartment and crawling back into bed, I decided to take a walk. Walks purely for pleasure are few and far between these days, when “taking a break” from school work might constitute a brisk walk through the neighborhood, and they don’t do me much good.
Today I did not merely walk. I strolled. I stopped often and as much as I pleased. I talked to God; I admired the skyline. I had nowhere to be and that was liberating. I’m always surprised at how…settled I feel after a long walk. It’s hard to pull myself away from my laptop when I know I have a mountain of work to do, but I’m also coming around to realizing that my best work isn’t done when I’ve been sitting for four hours straight (which I did on Friday). Today when I stood on the Harvard Bridge, I was again amazed and so grateful that I have had the privilege of spending a few years in this city.
Something I have found very effective in combatting worry, fear, anxiety, and the host of negative emotions is the practice of gratitude. A little gratitude goes a long way, believe me. Dreary days become, at the very least, manageable when I practice gratitude. Can I challenge you to do that? You might be surprised.
It’s hard to be grateful when things aren’t going the way you’d like (I’ve definitely been there…and I’m kind of there right now), but seriously, even being grateful for tiny things can make such a difference. Sometimes all I can muster is an “I’m grateful I finished this one task.” Other days, the list could be endless. Gratitude fills me with joy and awe at how well I am cared for. (And bonus: it makes me a more productive person.)
So…what are you grateful for? Maybe you can’t think of anything “big” or “significant,” but I promise, the “small” things count, too. Like, I’m feeling really grateful and content to be sitting on my bed, munching these beet chips I just recently discovered at Trader Joe’s and writing this post. But really—share it below, write it down on some paper, tell someone else and spread the gratitude. It is the seasoning of joy.