As I wandered down a track last week and my view opened out to reveal the stunning coastline below, I felt completely overwhelmed with gratitude and my heart was singing with joy. I had reached this point by walking from my house, by myself. As someone who struggles with chronic fatigue and doesn't get out that often, this was a big deal. It reminded me of my thankfulness practice and I thought I would share a little of that here.
It was a beautiful day, and I felt the strong urge to get some fresh air. We are still exploring our new part of the world and my husband had managed to get to Cuckmere Haven on his morning run, so I just thought I would see how far I could get.... I walked past lots of fields with spring lambs frolicking around and their mothers eyeing me suspiciously. Birds were singing and lots of folk were out walking their dogs.....
Cuckmere Haven is one of those super special places you don't encounter very often (it was one of the reasons we chose to pack our bags and move out here). As you wander down the track from South Hill Barn, you can see the rolling South Downs on your left and fields full of sheep and lambs. There is just so much S-P-A-C-E. Space to think and breathe. Space for ideas and new possibilities...
As you descend, the view seems to grow bigger and bigger and you can see the beautiful beach and majestic cliffs, and the coastguard cottages, just clinging on to the edge of the cliffs. You literally have a 360 degree view of the most beautiful countryside and coast. I was full of so much joy, just standing there and taking it all in.
I have my beautiful mother to thank for so many things, including a love for the simple things in life and practicing thankfulness. Every day, my mum would record several things she had to be thankful for in a journal - it could be a beautiful bird song, a glimmer of sunshine on a grey day, some kind words from a friend. It wasn't an easy task for her, as she suffered a great deal of pain and sickness in her last years, as she battled with cancer. But she chose to see the positives in life, despite being dealt such a cruel hand. It is amazing how much difference it can make to your life by focussing on the good things, rather than the bad. They say that what you pay attention to grows stronger. Let it be the good stuff.
It's a practice that has stayed with me, over the years. I started out writing down the things I was thankful for in a journal every day, but this fell by the wayside as life got busy and I got tireder. So instead, I just run through it all in my mind when I'm in bed, before I go to sleep. It's a lovely thing to focus on before you drift off. Of course, there are many benefits to writing it all down, not least the chance to review it and remind yourself of all the joy in your life when you are struggling, but I think it is better to do it, than not. So as with most things in life, I think it's important to find a way that works for you.
That beautiful day last week I had so much to be thankful for. I stared at the mesmerising waves for as long as I could stand, and then I sat and watched some more. And then I wandered along slowly, looking for shells, another favourite past time I share with my mum.
Today, I am thankful for
- The most beautiful bird song and golden light as I did my morning yoga practice
- Having the time and space to write this post and edit my photos
- The lessons my chronic fatigue is teaching me. I totally overdid it last week. A faint whiff of energy and I'm off - I got so excited by being able to walk to Cuckmere Haven, that I went twice, as well as several other decent walks and even cycles and started enthusiastically logging it all with a fitbit, comparing myself to my husband. What I should have been doing, is pacing myself, and doing less than I think I can. Today, my body is complaining strongly and forcing me to slow down. The fitbit has been abandoned and I'm grateful to be able to take things slowly, and for the self-awareness that comes with managing a chronic illness. Comparing myself to others is not a good thing!
- The beautiful golden daffodils bobbing around outside my window as I write this
- Getting one more of our plumbing leaks fixed!
What are you thankful for today?