All day long at the grocery store, I ask people “What’s been a highlight of your day?” I breeze right past “How are you today?”, which tends to pull for a lot of bullshit. If they beat me to the punch and ask me how I am, I give the obligatory “Fine” (which they are liable not to believe any way) and jump to the good stuff.
If they reflect my question as “What’s been the highlight of my day?”, I correct them. “A highlight, not the highlight – you don’t have to figure out what was the biggest one. Just pick any one of the little ones.”
Part of the point of this is to get us/me to focus on all these little ones – to notice that they are happening. Another, less secular version of this is my blessings list. I periodically wander away from this – forget to do it for months at a time. Then a big blessing is that something brings me back to it.
Absent practices like this I become a little unintentional atheist. My ego/mind takes over and convinces me that all is chaos, that I am alone and helpless in this big, uncaring world.
I can create my list in lots of formats: maybe my fav is here in my laptop, but I can also write them down in my little pocket-sized spiral-bound notebook or aloud as I drive home from work. When my dog was still alive, I used to do this almost every evening as I took him for a walk – that was a juicy way to do it, because I was surrounded by blessings: being out for a walk, my neighborhood which I liked, the company of my dog who I loved. I can directly trace the loss of this practice – two years ago, yikes! – to the loss of my dog.
This example, from my morning, shows how little these blessings can be:
- Tuesday – 2/9
- 67 biltmore – spotting that brochure just when i was trying to remember the name of the restaurant
- google calendar – lots of good stuff, really apprecitaing my smartphhone
- i get to get a new phone in July!
- I can feel so good about something happening so many months from now!
- making plans with the cortes family
- Netflix worked – Kung Fu Panda shipped
- a whole new world of Netflix! (I used to belong, but not for several years now)
- I am having a very pleasant time at my desk thismorning
- I made myself a nice breakfast
I am making plans to attend a meditation at the Open Heart meditation center here in Asheville. Just thinking about this – and talking with Steve Swearingen and Bob Lantis, two friends who attend and are very enthused about it – has got me going back to two practices that massage my heart: my prayer list (which I resumed a couple of weeks ago) and this blessings list, resumed yesterday.
What’s going to happen when i crack the book Steve loaned me or listen to the meditation CD – much less make it to the actual center?!