Bird is the word: You can have your palaces, finding my focus

November 2016 Posted in Columnists & Opinion, Your Health

Kali-MartinThere have been times in my life when I’ve felt utterly and entirely content. Like no matter how much or how little I had, it was enough.

I woke up every morning with a word of gratitude on my lips. I went to bed every night thanking my lucky stars for another day on earth. Able to see my life clearly, almost as if from another’s perspective, feeling in each moment how beautiful and meaningful it was.

This is not how I’ve felt lately.

Lately, I’ve felt utterly and entirely restless. Like I need a change of scenery. To shake things up. To take on something new.

Move forward. Start fresh.

I lay in bed at night, my mind racing 100 miles an hour, bouncing from thing-to-thing, theory-to-theory. Coming up with a thousand ideas to make myself feel better.

But nothing seems to take root.

I’ve felt pretty down. Frustrated. Sorry for myself. Making silly mistakes I’ve made a thousand times, like comparing myself other people. Looking around at what everyone else has and feeling frustrated that I don’t. Completely losing perspective and the ability to see clearly all of the good things I do have.

After a few weeks of floundering, I decided to channel my frustrations into projects. As I cut out dozens of felt leaves for my son on a rainy afternoon this week, casually browsing the photos on my phone, I stumbled upon this quote I had screenshot at some point and saved in my archives.

“I’m happy with a little house,

A low white fence before it;

Thankful for the little feet

That toddle to explore it;

Contented with a fireplace

Someone I love for kissing.

You can have your palaces,

I’ll have what you are missing.”

-Helen Virden

As I read it, I smiled to myself. And then I rolled my eyes, because good grief! Why is it so easy to lose perspective but so much work to get things back into focus?

Sure, I don’t have as much as I’d like sometimes. New clothes. A home of our own. The ability to update our car. Or go out to eat. Or move on from living paycheck-to-paycheck most of the time.

But as I was reminded by that simple little quote, this is the life I’ve chosen.

I don’t have a lot of those things because I don’t need them.

And when I have my head on straight, I don’t really even want them.

I’ve picked simplicity, slow, intentional living and time with my family over a career that would pay for those things. And most days, I’m so glad!

Traditionally, November is the time of year where we all practice gratitude for the good things in our life, as we should, but I’m determined to be just a little more grateful than usual.

Grateful for the things I have and the things I don’t.

Grateful for the time and space to work through my thoughts and feelings, be reminded of my flaws and move forward into growth.

And especially, thankful for simple, timely reminders and wise words discovered by chance in the depths of my phone.

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