My “gratitude practice”

Ants are crawling around the living room floor today. They found some errant cat food, and I failed to notice until the workers had sent out the enthusiastic dinner bell to the colony. I’ve lived in this house for 3 years, and only now do I appreciate that was three whole years without ants in the living room.

I pulled a muscle in my back while yawning last week. Just that, just yawning. I hadn’t properly appreciated how injury-free my previous yawns had been. For that matter, all the daily tasks I take for granted–walking up or down the stairs without stubbing a toe, closing car doors without slamming a finger in between, and years of injury-free flossing of teeth.

Two of my three cats are in adequate health. The oldest one keeps surprising me by continuing to survive another day, more than twenty years since I first adopted him. Each day is a gift, a really lame gift. That’s not ableist language in this case but literal. The old beast doesn’t have proper functioning of his back hips and legs any longer, and overactive thyroid has left him skin and bones. But he still finds comfort in curling up on my lap or upon a warm heat register.

The floor of the garage where I train is so cold my toes sometimes go numb, but on the plus side, it stays nice and cool as the weather heats up. Unless we get more record-breaking heat, that is. But most days, it isn’t record-breaking heat, and I can enjoy the refreshing chill of bare concrete underfoot.

I’m being a bit facetious of course. Few things are as obnoxious as a person in a position of privilege bitching about their lot in life, their first world problems. And yet, the whole notion of a gratitude practice fills me with dread of the toxically positive, the folks who cannot dwell in even a moment of their own or others’ discomfort. Sometimes complaining and being heard is the most healing thing we can hope for. I hope each of you has a safe place to vent, to whine, and to complain, and also can find a moment from time to time to appreciate when your cat is still alive and there aren’t ants in the living room.

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