Cosmos and cheer in the morning
July 22, 2011 § 2 Comments
Today I was traipsing through the gardens with a bucket full of cosmos and coreopsis, wearing my floppy straw hat and listening to the birds chirping their morning songs. The sky was blue and the clouds were fluffy white, and to the west, beyond the neighbor’s alfalfa field, Long’s Peak stood clear and gray and strong.
It was one of those moments where you think, “Is this my life?”
Hot July summer days. We end at three in dirt and sweat, I go home and sip iced coffee for an hour and a half, then head out to feed the horses. After that, when I am covered in grass hay and smell like horse and have gotten a second set of clothes dirty, a cool bath is just the thing.
I hold on to the thoughts of the bath and the coffee to keep me going when I need to. Some days, the heat makes every minute drag. Many of those kinds of days lately make work a bit more difficult to go to.
But this day I thought, “I can’t believe I am getting paid to pick flowers!”
And this evening, “I can’t believe I am paid to hang out with these beautiful horses.”
I hadn’t started the day so grateful. I still stay up too late, and sleep too poorly, to be a morning person. I do prefer jobs that start earlier in the morning, but that doesn’t mean I am cheerful at the start of the day. (This reality doesn’t change, actually, even if my job starts at 10:00 a.m. Lazy me!) So many mornings I get up and do not want to talk, do not want to move, do not want to do.
So many mornings, as I am hauling myself out to my car, I find myself in an almost involuntary habit of considering other options. Even when I’m going off to the job I am happy for and have been wanting for months! Sometimes it seems I just don’t like to work. (Kind of a problem when life requires income.) But that isn’t true – during months of unemployment last year I was frustrated, disillusioned, defeated, and desperately bored . . . and losing a grip on any sense of a life-purpose. Still, along goes my mind . . . maybe a different kind of work, it suggests, would make me less grouchy in the mornings. Maybe if I’d been a ballet dancer, after all, I’d wake up ready to face the day with joy and ambition. Maybe if I had that farm/bed and breakfast already and could be my own boss. Maybe if I were a successful writer and could just stay home at my sunny desk with a steaming mug of coffee and baby blue striped pajamas to work in all day. Maybe . . .
So this morning I was going through all these thoughts, and then reminding myself of how about an hour or two into the day I’d be snipping lettuce and thinking how glad I was to be snipping lettuce instead of answering phones or grading papers. How the sun coming through the trees’ morning shade would cheer me up. How the first soreness of crouching would have gone away by then and I’d be appreciating the plants and the quiet and the air. How while weeding I’d be sharing ideas and interests and simply random things with fellow farmers and farmer-dreamers. How the smell of the soil and the splashing of water and a pile of colorful carrots would make this small world such a vivid one.
That helped, as it usually does. But today took me a bit further than most mornings of this in-my-head conversation, and I had a little jolting self-realization about attitude: particularly, how my morning one is really an issue. Here I go running through ways to adjust my situation so that I can be happier and/or things can be better. Honestly, I do this somewhat regularly as I assess life and its options, and I don’t think the tendency is entirely problematic. I am a great proponent of acting rather than whining when things aren’t quite as you would like them to be. But. Even what you really want can have its moments of being difficult, or stressful, or just not what you feel like doing in that particular space of time. Or sometimes you just can’t have what you want for a while. Sometimes, even, what is best for you and/or the world – what’s your purpose, even – isn’t what naturally feels the greatest.
My morning self-realization was that I can – and too frequently do – allow my emotions to be subject to my circumstances. How I feel can so easily be affected by short-term and long-term situations, or people, or jobs or specific tasks. Yet (and this is the good part following the jolt) I can decide to be stronger than all of that, and I can choose to set my own framework for the status of my mind and heart and spirit. I can select happiness and back it up with so many good things. I really can. So much is about what is in my head.
I am a gut-instinct, feeling, deep-in-the-mysteries-of-the-world kind of person. At the same time that I appreciate this about myself, I don’t want to be helplessly driven by momentary feelings. Instead I want to acknowledge them, accept them, and work with them. The ones worth rooting out? Well, I’m an expert weeder in the physical realm! Maybe I can transfer the skills to the psychological. When I find the thoughts or feelings that block contentment, out they go.
Anyway, that’s the thought of the day. Mornings might not be my favorite for awhile yet. (It’d be magic if I just woke up automatically cheery from now on, wouldn’t it?) Wait until I’ve had coffee and two hours of being awake before talking to me . . . if you want to be on the safe side! And I will practice refocusing each day towards gratitude. Oh. Doesn’t that sound life-giving just saying it? Dawn could become a beautiful time.