Monday, December 26, 2011

Gratitude


Breakfast. Deep sigh, then another deep sigh. As I reached hungrily for the baguette and Humbolt Fog cheese, I stopped, placed my hands palms up on the table and closed my eyes and took several more deep breathes, in, and out, in, and out. From inside my dominant feeling of being rushed and tired, I suddenly fell head long into gratitude. It surprised me, it usually feels like being grateful, taking that moment to say thank you at a meal is something you do and then you feel. This moment came from another direction, it was as if the gratitude was circling around the room and demanded that I pay attention, pushing my hands to stop, my attention to go to my breathing. It felt like a gift, this cosmic invitation to that warmest, most meaningful of feelings: to be present in the moment.
My breakfast was a perfect meal. Canned peaches from the summer, a cheese that tastes of my California roots, a salad of bitter chicory, bread and water.
Through the meal, the sole moment I was likely to find in the day, the presence of gratitude was enveloping. Beauty and gratitude often travel together. It was in part my determination to have a simple but truly beautiful picnic breakfast that invited such a moment of gratitude. Slapping all the ingredients together into a sandwich and eating while I drove was one option for the morning. It would have been delicious, all the same ingredients, and I would have loved it. But I could not have been in the moment, driving, eating, listening to the radio, going over my to do list in my head. Sitting at the table, making the effort to find a functional, contemplative moment proved more nourishing than I could have anticipated.
Later in the week when Coral got pneumonia and Colby needed to go to the hospital for a strong virus that severely dehydrated her, I kept coming back to that still moment, that surprising day I had gratitude for breakfast.

The Gratitude Breakfast is a reminder to savor the quiet moments, to calm and still where and when you can. It provided me a fond and immediate memory to call on when my stress and concern for my children were mounting. Calm and gratitude are there for us, any moment we remembered, and feel.

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