|Photo credit: http://www.morguefile.com/|
Well, it’s November already. Which I’ve noticed has become—probably when I wasn’t paying attention—national “What are you grateful for?” month.
Fine. Great. Good.
Gratitude is a miraculous thing. Right? Yes.
I learned about the value of having an attitude of gratitude a long time ago. There’s a little tool I was taught in 12-step recovery called a Gratitude List. The basics are: make a list (written or typed) of ten things a day you’re grateful for. Do this for two weeks, or longer if you wish. Easy Peasy.
The clincher is, you can’t repeat the same thing twice. Not so easy. And let me tell you, after the first few days, you start listing things like: I’m grateful for toilet paper. This works though. Point is, it can be anything, really. And as is human nature, we tend to lose sight of the little things around us. Toilet paper is really kinda important, don’t you think? Yeah, me too.
So, try it if you want. I’ve done it many times over the years and it really does help switch your focus from the maybe not so great things you’re living through to the things in your life that are great.
Which leads me to my original point of writing a post today.
Right now, at this very moment, there’s a tornado hovering over my life. It’s a big sucker too! Filled with all sorts of debris it’s picked up along the way since it started as a small funnel cloud over four years ago.
As a result, I’m having a little bit of trouble keeping my focus. I’m having a little bit of trouble managing my emotions. I’m having a little bit of trouble keeping my anxiety to a manageable level. And I’m having a little bit of trouble writing.
Who am I kidding? —I’m having a lot of trouble, really.
Those that know me well, know I’m a pretty driven person. I’ve been described as tenacious on more than one occasion. Not sure if I’m truly tenacious or just plain stubborn. Maybe both, but either way, I’m the kind of person that goes after what I want, and I don’t stop until I get it. Doesn’t matter what it is either. This has been the case in regards to my writing.
I started writing about four years ago; this is also when the tornado started. Coincidence? No. Not the cause the tornado. More like the effect.
I’ve been very blessed in my short writing career. It’s in its infancy and I’m doing all the things necessary to try and help it grow. My first book was published in August of this year and I’m currently working on a series, as well as a co-written paranormal project.
The first book in my series is done. The second is half done. The last several weeks I’ve been working on editing, smoothing, tweaking, rewriting whole chunks, etc. of the first MS. Writers know, it’s what we do. And we do it at length when we’re trying to make it as perfect as possible so that maybe a publisher will want to buy it.
But in my case... the fucking tornado! Grr! Yes, I did growl as I wrote that.
The process can be grueling as it is, and in my case, the tornado has made it even more so.
The debris in the tornado keeps slamming me in the head. And did I mention most of the debris swirling in the funnel was tossed up in the air by none other than yours truly? Nothing like making your bed and then lying in it.
Good times! Um, no.
In my effort to concentrate and get myself on track—basically ignoring the funnel so I can write—I’ve managed to do everything but. And I’m really frustrated with myself. I write love stories, and trying to do that when the last thing I feel is happy-happy joy-joy, is just plain fucking hard.
I’ve had to make a lot of changes this year. Some of those are good and some are very painful. I’ve had a lot of loss because of, and during the tornado. My father unexpectedly passed away, August of 2012. I’ve lost friends. Cherished ones. Some I chose to walk away from, some walked away from me. I could go on listing the other things that are in the wings waiting to take a hike, too, but I think you get my drift.
~ ~ ~
Now, here’s the thing. And it’s a rather cool thing, too. Just above this raging tornado is a gorgeous rainbow with a bright and clear blue sky behind it.
There have been some really great things happening amidst the madness. For example: As I mentioned, I sold and published my first book this year! That’s pretty freaking amazing. Also, I started a new job at a new company, less than a month ago. Some could argue that’s also contributing to the tornado, and maybe in some ways it does, but I choose to see it as a good thing instead.
It keeps my mind occupied during the day, and because of that it helps distract me from the fact the tornado is about to rip the roof off. After all, I can’t do a damn thing about the roof. And I can’t do anything about the tornado either. All I can do is the next thing in front of me and, as a friend says, put an X through the day.
So... gratitude right?
Yes. I can also be grateful.
Here’s ten things I’m grateful for today while I try and write through my tornado.
1) My children.
2) The friends that have stuck by me, old and new.
3) My new job.
4) My salary to pay for my home.
6) My agent who is pushing me to give my writing my all.
7) My computer.
8) Being able to laugh at myself.
9) The ability to cry when I need to.
10) A God of my own understanding that I know isn’t going to drop me on my ass.
What’s the next thing in front of me to do? Go work on that first chapter.
I’m going to go do that now.