Miles to empty? Running on fumes....!
Yesterday, I woke up and EVERYTHING looked like a problem.
Being in my mind was like being trapped in a burning building - and everywhere I looked for an escape route I saw things which just compounded my situation: a jerry can full of petrol one way, a barred window another.
So not a nice morning: grumpy with husband, kids and life; I couldn't see a way out of my misery.
And then two things happened to perk me up, to alert me that the world wasn't actually against, me, just my thinking about the world in that moment was.
First, the traffic - which is normally backed up way along the road I take the kids to school along - wasn't there - if you know Nairobi, you'll know that's nigh short of a miracle.
I noticed the absence of traffic and noticed I felt grateful for it (a far nicer feeling than any of the ones I'd experienced so far that morning).
Second, at school, we were greeted by a teacher before we'd even got out of the car, which meant I delivered the children straight from the car into her arms and didn't need to get involved with a lengthy drop off - I was out of there in minutes.
The feeling of gratitude, of the-world-is-actually-an-okay-place-I'm-just-struggling-right-now, grew.
That feeling enabled me to see and feel a light at the end of the tunnel that was a tiny bit bigger than the pinprick I'd been operating through at the start of the morning.
That increased perspective on life, which the feeling of gratitude afforded me, slowed my mind down just a little bit. It eased my ego-chatter just enough for my little voice - the one I call my wisdom-voice - to speak to me; to tell me to forget the list of 'to-dos' and things I was determined to get done to 'make me feel better'; to forget rushing about town; to go home, to have a cup of tea, to breathe, and to take the day from there.
Reflecting on yesterday shows me two things:
1. Understanding that the hell I was living in was thought-created, not real, gave me some distance (even if only a millimetre) between Me (big me, all of me), and the ego-thought-created reality I was experiencing.
That understanding didn't make me feel better in the moment - the feelings of what I was experiencing were all 'there' - but my understanding of the fact that I am not my thoughts; that my thoughts come through me and create my experience, but that is it: they are not fully Me - helped keep me floating a millimetre above my experience... (at the same time as feeling ALL of it).
That gap between my experience and my relationship to my experience was enough to keep a tiny chink of my heart open - just enough - for me to notice that somethings were going in my favour, that the world was not against me - just my thoughts in that moment were. And that despite my mental misery there were things to be grateful for.
2. The experience of gratitude took me out of myself, it slowed my thinking down and eased my mind enough for fresh thought, for wiser thought to come through. It allowed me in that moment to be guided by something wiser and bigger than my ego-created thought-nightmare I'd been living in on and off for 3 days.
So gratitude is as powerful as people say.
That said, the way I see it today though is that genuine gratitude is only possible to feel when we are not 100% sold on the world working from the outside-in; when a part of us (however small) believes it's possible it actually works from the inside out.
Just that openness to life possibly working that way creates enough space for genuine heartfelt and transformative gratitude to flow in.
PS....Just so you know the truth of the matter: the day did improve, and then went down hill again - reached crisis point in the evening, in fact (ask my husband...).
I sit here this morning feeling a whole lot better.
And grateful for what I learnt yesterday.