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Do you ever actually sit and count your blessings? I suppose because it's November now and getting closer to Thanksgiving, and also because we are reading Those Happy Golden Years in which Laura is now a schoolteacher boarding 12 miles from home in a horrible household and SHE is talking about how wonderful her home and family and life are in contrast, that I am thinking so frequently about my life and the things that are good in it.

Even if you don't believe in BLESSINGS, per se; the idea that someone, some higher being, some all-knowing, all-seeing power PERSONALLY TOOK THE TIME and conferred UPON YOU the things that are good in your life is kind of hard to swallow. Maybe it's all just random synapses. Maybe it's all just total co-inky-dink (which is how I've mentally pronounced coincidence since college when a girlfriend started it and it spread like wildfire. I can't remember where it came from. Do you do this? It's so twee, but I can't stop. No? It's just me? What a co-inky-dink! Har!)

I've done the typical things I'm thankful for posts every year about this time...I AM SO PREDICTABLE. Damn, that's an annoying thing to realize about oneself.

Mostly, if someone tells me to count my blessings, it just makes me want to slap them. Just as a surprise, you know (and because the look on their face would totally make me laugh) (you'd laugh too, if you were there watching) (well, once you got past the shock at the NERVE). I wouldn't ACTUALLY slap them, honestly. I say the stupid phrase myself sometimes and I don't leave myself out of the wanting to slap reflex, though I've never actually slapped myself either. Maybe I should! Maybe YOU should, just to get this post back on track. It seems to have veered severely. I mean I seem to have veered severely. It's hardly the post's fault.

November always gets me moony and blue, but that feeling seems to hover all over during this slow slide into the cold and dark. I keep the solstice in my sights like a light at the end of the tunnel. Only 2 months until it starts getting lighter, I think to myself as I'm driving into the pall of darkness that hangs over the landscape as early as 4 in the afternoon these days thanks to stupid winter time and general lack of daylight hours in the winter season that comes from living this far north to begin with. Tonight my mind snagged on the word pall. It's been overcast, so it seems particularly fitting. I think it's interesting that it's used so differently as a verb and as a noun. The verb form means 'to dwindle, weaken or fail' while the noun comes from the cloth used to cover a chalice or casket: a cloak or a mantle, originally; something that conceals or spreads a feeling of gloom.

When the sun DOES shine and it hits the falling, fallen leaves like a klieg light it's hard to remember that feeling of gloom that descends in the earlying evenings. When it's dark out and you can't even see the stars, can't wave to Orion, it's sometimes hard to remember the last time you saw the sun. Hard to remember that up above the cloud cover it's shining away, getting closer, working harder to warm us though we tilt from it.

When I think about my blessings they seem so ordinary: good health, wonderful family, loving and committed relationship, fulfilling work, kindred spirit friendships, warm and cozy house, the ability to buy and do the things we need and desire. When I think about the things I have, the life I live, the luck I keep, I always think "I'm grateful" as if I needed to be or were grateful TO someone or something. I'm just grateful that they ARE, these things that make my life worth living. Not so ordinary, after all, when I really come to think of it, when I really count my blessings and one by one pop them into my mind and roll them around to savor them.

Maybe it all comes down to appreciation. I don't have to be grateful for what I've got if I just appreciate it. Isn't that gratitude in its most basic form? If I notice. If I listen. If I recognize. If I consciously enjoy and revel in the ordinary and extraordinary marvels that surround me, and even if I just take the bad things in stride and work with and through them to the other side where the good things grow. If I give thanks.
 contemplative
mood: contemplative
music: Anya Marina—Miss Halfway


Comments
(Anonymous)

So very true. It's easy to focus on the bad stuff but appreciating all the little things in your life, adding them up, savoring them (as you said - such a lovely sentence by the way)... that's where it's at. And I appreciate being reminded. Thanks lovely lady.

bohemiangirl

You're welcome, lovely lady yourself! YOU are one of the ones who constantly reminds me about how to appreciate!

(Anonymous)

Those Blessings, those co-inky-dinks.......Maybe,.... it's all just KARMA!
Didn't I teach you anything?????? HAHAHAHA! Love, Lizardmom

You sure did. That's why I write :)

I'm thankful for you dear friend, and your LJ.

aw, thanks. Ditto!!!

Tonight my mind snagged on the word pall.

maybe you should snag on it in swedish instead. maybe not as pall, the little stool you can sit on, but as in "stå pall", to "stand fast". :)

What a nice thought! :)

Liz, you are writing my entries again. How do you cut and paste them straight from my brain to your journal?

I had the same thoughts as I finished reading A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. I felt embarrassed by my selfishness and recent lack of gratitude for what I have. Really, I have it so easy — a good life, freedom to come and go as I please, a loving and gentle husband — and I too often forget to offer thanks for what I have. Instead, I offer up groans and grumbles about…

a dog that wakes me in the early morning for food

weather that is either too cold, wet and windy

the drunks who used the seat out the front of my old home as their office

Piddling, paltry complaints especially when seen against tales of brutality and war and stories of sacrifices made for love, out of love and friendship. As I read the book, the insignificance of my “difficulties” was made terribly, stunningly clear.

Nothing in my life compares to the abuse faced by his heroines at the hand of their husband. Nothing in my life compares to the stark brutality of the world they inhabit. And I have never experienced anything that would compel me to sacrifice myself for the love of another. It also reminded me of the transcendence of the human spirit, of the ability of people to overcome and rise above hardship and horror.

So I decided to get out of my pit of self pity and I will try to remember to be thankful. I will try to remember to give more to this world I live in. I will try to remember that the drunks in the street are people too and deserving of dignity, just as I am. I will remember to thank those who bring beauty to my life, like the busker this afternoon, playing his guitar out in the rain at the train station, who deserved more than the small handful of change I could find in my purse.

I will try to remember that my life is splendid, indeed, and that I am incredibly lucky to be living it.

You dare to grumble about Princess Lambi!? For shame!

Seriously, I haven't read that book, but it's stories like that every day on the news that make me stop in shock and think: what am I moaning about?? I have it so GOOD. It's not always easy to keep your blessings in the forefront of your mind when things are going your way on any particular day, or the weather sucks, or your PMSing fit to beat the band...but perhaps it's even MORE important on just those sorts of days.

(Anonymous)

One of the most important Spiritual Laws to live by- You get what you put out in life. So, living a live of gratitude will increase your blessings, instead of bringing in more of what you are complaining about.
It will also help in bringing in a life with Peace in your heart. :)
Love, Lizardmom

In case you already didn't look it up, Google finds approximately 35,000 web pages containing the word co-inky-dink with or without hyphens. I made a similar search for genitalisk(t) last week but only ended up with a handful of hits, much less than I had expected.

(Anonymous)
what a co-inky dink!

I practice gratitude, too-- which is, for me, noticing all the minute details (and the big ones) and, I guess, just not taking it for granted.

GREAT post-- sorry it is so dark, though. Maybe Santa will bring you a miner's light for xmas and you can wear it all day?

Snort-- bp

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I can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.

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