I’d imagined this next post would be filled with snippets about our trip.
This isn’t that post.
Less than 8 hours before we were to depart–we were faced with a decision which forced us to cancel our trip.
For reasons I wont share, but for reasons which resulted in a despondent child and a wholly unprepared to handle the situation mama.
I guessed at what to do (we went in here for a w-h-i-l-e).
I left lots up to her (this really really helped).
I reminded myself G-d doesn’t give me wisdom or strength. G-d provides opportunity to see the wisdom/strength I need is already inside me.
Needless to say, the past few days have been rough ones.
Opportunities I didn’t desire to show The Child the importance of embracing feelings (no matter how icky) and chances to practice not preach with regards to the fact if we choose to avoid an emotion it’s always there waiting for us later.
Feelings are neither good nor bad. They simply are.
We’d each squashed sadness/disappointment like a grape against the roof of our mouth (thank you Keats).
Not only were we able to again see what we had to be grateful for–we were ready to pause, identify and name all of it.
Instead of returning to our usual gratitude-routine, I suggested we try something new.
An approach to gratitude I’d learned in graduate school and one which had previously felt a bit childish/simplistic.
Five finger gratitude.
The practice was simple.
While seated/reclined in a dark, quiet place spread one hand out like a starfish.
With eyes closed take the other hand and softly touch each starfish-finger.
As you gently tap each digit, focus on one thing for which you’re grateful.
With each touch spend a few moments immersing yourself in the feeling of appreciation which surrounds the thought.
Focus your mind entirely on gratitude for the place/object/person/experience.
Completing 5 Finger Gratitude takes approximately one minute (a bit over 10 seconds per finger).
60 seconds which can wholly reframe a day.
The thing is, being the duo we are, we couldn’t resist tweaking this gratitude-approach to better fit our…humor.
In fact, the moment I said the name aloud I knew, even in her current less-than-silly state, the Child would also recall the memory which sprang to my mind.
The refrain/chant from one of our fave picture books which taught younger-Child the difference between the 5 ‘appendages’ which extend from our palms:
Hand, hand, fingers, thumb. One thumb, one thumb drumming on a drum.
We don’t have five fingers, she clarified. Remember that book? One thumb one thumb drumming on a drum??
And a new, tweaked-from-how-we-learned-it-in-grad-school, nightly thankfulness-ritual was born:
I don’t struggle with finding moments/things/feelings to be grateful for each day.
Still, I’ve discovered committing to this new practice has served to heighten my awareness for small stuffs I possess/experience and for which I need to pause and express gratitude.
Five Four Finger No Thumb Gratitude reminds me to consciously choose to scan my world for gratitude moments in anticipation of sharing them at night.
I may have always possessed ‘thankfulness,’ but 4 Finger Gratitude has reminded me to pay attention.
- Do you have a daily gratitude practice?