17 June 2008

A Rainbow of Thankfulness

Chris Guillebeau, who writes at The Art of Nonconformity, was the guest blogger at Zen Habits recently. He wrote about living a life of gratitude, and challenged others to build a habit of gratitude.

Anyone who’s heard me lecture knows I’m big on gratitude, too. Principle #9 of my 12 Basic Principles of Being Organized is “Adopt an Attitude of Gratitude.” My usual rap is that much of our clutter comes from holding on “just in case,” from scarcity thinking, and that the opposite of scarcity is abundance and the quickest way to abundance is gratitude. By practicing gratitude every day, we build new neural pathways in our brain, much like curling weights builds biceps, or like water wears a new course over time. Daily gratitude becomes a habit, our default way of viewing the world, and teaches us that we are indeed blessed. In turn, we are better able to let go of the unnecessary in our lives, to simplify.

Anyway, that’s the rap. Today’s practice finds expression in color. There’s a line from a James Taylor song that runs through my head: “Deep greens and blues are the colors I choose.” Yes. Especially greens. Especially the greens of leaves, the warm young green of the underside of Big Leaf Maples as they’re lit by streaming sunlight from above, and the darker greens of firs and cedars and spruce in the forest behind. And the green of moss on river-wet stones.

Blue skies, of course, are always welcome here on the Pacific Northwest. Today brought the blue of the Pacific, too. After a leisurely late brunch in Trinidad, we went walking at Elk Head, eventually finding a niche along the cliff that provided some wind protection and a view of the ocean, with its two tones of blue – shallow turquoise meeting the deeper and darker, more true blue.

White gulls rode the thermals. As I lay in the warm sand, snuggled against Ronnie, I watched them glide by. One was having fun soaring backwards.

Of course, black ravens rode those same thermals.

Walking along the path we found native lilies just beginning to bloom, an almost pumpkin orange with brown spots. Red columbine with 5 bright yellow tubes in its center draped gracefully. Wild iris in varying shades of purple – from pale creamy with light purple striations to deep purple with yellow markings – brightened the trail. And cheery yellow buttercups (which are actually an invasive weed, but they’re so pretty!) decorated the open area by the parking lot.

On the way home, I noticed that the golden fields of mown pasture grass were now dotted with bales of hay. There’s something so pleasing about seeing acres of hay bales lined outside my kitchen window, extending clear across the valley.

Once we got home, I unpacked my wicker basket of produce that we’d bought at Farmer’s Market earlier in the day. Laid out on my fruit table are my favorite color -- three plates of red: raspberries, strawberries, and cherries. Oh my god do I love summer!!! For these fruits I am truly grateful…

And now, 10 o’clock at night, I look out my office window on a round white moon rising above the wooded hills.

Life is good.

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