Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Gratitude and Joy



I've tried in the past to keep one of those 'gratitude' journals, in which you list the things you're grateful for each day. It has always seemed false and forced to me, and my gratitude journals have never lasted long (in fairness it's supposed to get easier with practice - perhaps I just wimp out too easily).

For me, enforced gratitude has an off-putting whiff of piety and duty about it. The clich├ęd exclamation 'Eat your cabbage! There are starving children in Africa who would be grateful for that!' spoken by generations of parents is a prime example. It instantly brings up feelings of guilt due to deficient gratitude. And although it may lead to a grudging intake of cabbage, this seems a pretty poor pay-off.

Gratitude freely and spontaneously given is another fish entirely, born of joy and connection to the world. Right now I could happily fill volumes of gratitude journals! Why? Well...

I have just spent a gorgeous weekend with my family, celebrating Dad's 70th birthday party. Everyone had a great time, between us we laid on a sumptuous feast, the sun shone, and we laughed and loved and enjoyed each others company. I am so grateful to come from such a close, loving family!

This morning - I'm now back at home in Wales - it's a beautiful day, the veggie patch is coming along beautifully, the cats, chickens, geese & bees are enjoying the mild sunny weather, and everywhere the tight buds of early spring are unloosening their buttons and wantonly spilling an abundance of leaves and blossoms in celebration of summer being just around the corner. I am so grateful to be enjoying another beautiful spring!

And this morning - the icing on the cake: the swallows have returned. Swallows, woo-hoo!!! A sure sign of summer. Each year the swallows arrive and nest in one of our outbuildings, and the martens soon follow to nest under the eaves of the house. They swoop and dive in gracefully reckless manoeuvres around the hillside, chattering to each other all the while. One swallow may not make a summer, but a whole flock of them really does, heralding in long sunny days and mild balmy nights, strawberries and homegrown tomatoes, long warm grass under the toes and the scent of honeysuckle and jasmine in the evening. I am so grateful the world contains such beauty and joy!

A daily gratitude journal? Not for me. But infrequent bursts of exuberantly joyful celebration of this life? Count me in. There will be more - you have been warned.

8 comments:

Mike Farley said...

Wonderful! Almost Laurie Lee like with your flowery beautiful prose. And that is praise indeed! Keep it up.

Moonroot said...

Blimey! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Thankyou! My Gran was always telling me off for not eating all my dinner while people starved in Africa. I wish I could have sent them my food. Will xxx

Jessica at Bwlchyrhyd said...

Came over here to check out your blog after reading your comment on mine and feel like I am reading my own blog! What a coincidence to find somebody doing all the same things as me on the side of another hill in Wales...

Moonroot said...

Yes, I felt the same way when I came across your blog! Wouldn't it be weird if we were on opposite sides of the same hill?!

MAHIMA said...

about the food, i had a friend who'd always reply to comments like there are people in this country starving with a:
if i don't eat this, there's a chance someone starving might get to eat it. if i eat it, he's certainly not getting it!!

Reya Mellicker said...

I love the pic! Wonderful to find your blog. I look forward to catching up with you via your posts and pics. Much love to you and T, too!

Moonroot said...

Mahima, thanks for the tip - I'll have to remember that one!
Reya, lovely to have you here! Love to you & Jake.