Saturday, October 11, 2008

An Attitude of Gratitude

Is attitude (pronounced add-ee-tood here in Philly) everything? For a summer girl such as myself, fall has always been difficult. I hate saying goodbye to the beach, the warmth, flip-flops, days that last until 8 pm, barbeques, fresh berries and tomatoes. But this year, rather than focusing on the loss of summer, I'm trying to see the gifts of autumn. Like my rust colored 3/4 sleeve jacket and my brown suede boots. Or the shock of a crimson-topped tree, or a flash of tangerine in the distance, just enough to bring me out of my head and back into the moment.

In search of autumn treasures I went yesterday to Longwood Gardens, one of my favorite places in the world. Boy do they know how to celebrate fall. Artfully arranged squashes of all shapes and sizes--butternuts with necks like swans, squat green and white speckled acorns, pumpkins almost big enough for Cinderella's carriage. A wall of mums of the truest yellow. Marigolds of toasted sunshine. Ornamental spiky peppers of red, yellow, orange and green. Nature's gifts were so dramatic and gorgeous and abundant it was almost too much.

This particular fall has brought with it the need for me to make some money. This was hard to accept at first. I had hoped I would finish the novel and sell it and never have to work for anyone else ever again, but that is not how it has worked out. Here too I am looking for gifts. I am grateful that the book is progressing so well and so steadily, and that I often have faith that it will be finished whenever it's meant to be finished. These are two incredible gifts.

As for the job itself, I welcome the opportunity to make some money, to have more structure, more socialization, a change of scenery, and the chance to use parts of myself that have gone unused at home writing. I think the right job will provide some balance that I need in my life, and actually help me finish the book, and not hinder it.

One more small example of searching for gifts: the gift of waiting in line. Rather than feeling angry and frustrated and impatient (as I usually do) I've been trying to feel gratitude for a few moments to just be--a few moments when I don't have to do or say anything.

Looking for the gifts changes my attitude, which in turn allows me not only to accept my life, but to enjoy it much more, and to move through it as a happier and calmer person, which may be the greatest gift of all.