I spent a good deal of time this weekend working. Working for work; working for me. I’m grateful to be caught up, and grateful for the internet. I’m grateful I can get all my tax stuff on-line now. I suppose the people who are responsible for producing those documents are pretty grateful, too. And, I’m grateful to whomever invented beignets. Who knew that fried dough could be so incredible.
I’m grateful today was a lazy day. I feel a little guilty lying around…my Protestant work ethic and all…but it’s needed. I’m grateful I know a lot about construction. And, I’m grateful for the blooming succulents and green hillsides. California in January is not a bad place.
Even though I’m a goal-driven person, I’m grateful I’m not competitive. People who always have to win have a hole in their aura that is impossible to fill; they ruin the fun of the game for others. I’m grateful for people who recommend and give me books. And I’m grateful for all the years I spent teaching. Not because of the great money but because it taught me how to put down a heckler. Life skills.
Today was another gray, gloomy day, so I’m grateful that I was occupied with work and other tasks, which helped the day to pass quickly. I’m grateful for my optimism. It’s not a family trait; I have to work at it, but it’s worth the effort. And, I’m grateful that I get paid tomorrow. Just when you think you can’t stand another day of the endless BS, that big fat paycheck comes in and, suddenly, you find the strength to go on.
I’m grateful that many years ago a project manager insisted I track my time by task. Like most, my initial reaction was negative, but more than 10+ years later, I realize that it was the best thing I could do for me and my career. Know thy time! (Peter Drucker) I’m grateful for my ability to say no. So many problems we have in our lives and society is because we are too afraid to use that word. And, I’m grateful for MacIntosh apples. The best apple for sure.
An Ode to Effort….
This time of year we set goals. I have goals – but, just like everyone – they change. They get bigger, smaller, or their priority shifts. But, like the Buddha, I have returned from the holiday forest and my mantra for this year is not about goals – it’s about Effort.
Goals are important, but they are secondary – the real value is not in achieving the goal, but in the effort.
Too many dismiss effort. That’s easy to do when there’s money or beauty or natural talent, but these are false idols. What we really admire is the effort. A good job, good home, good relationships, good health, good food, good body, good sex…they aren’t a finish-line goal. They require effort.
Too often we ignore making the effort, especially when it’s small, because we are blinded by getting or having that big goal.
Too often we excuse ourselves, “I know I should make more of an effort….” Or worse, if our satisfaction is not immediate, or our effort isn’t recognized and lauded, we lament, “I’m tired of making the effort.”
We all have goals unaccomplished because of effort. That crowded storage space. Relationships you can’t get out of (or into). The stagnant career. Those extra 20 lbs., that are leaning into 30 now. Effort.
Sometimes it’s easy; sometimes it’s hard, but easy or hard, effort is about time management and consistency. This is where we need to embrace the notion that effort is both a means and an end. Like honor or integrity…it’s a gift you give to yourself.
Effort, like love, is not a zero-sum game. Effort is never about reciprocity because we never run out of effort, and, like love, we can easily manifest more of it whenever we desire.
So, for 2022, my focus is less on achieving, having, or getting, and more on consistently making an effort.
Happy New Year!
I bought a pretty expensive bottle of wine to celebrate the end of my work week and work year. I decided to bring it to my favorite bistro so I could drink it with a meal made by someone who can cook. I’m grateful for the wine and the meal. All worth it… I’m grateful to end the year with my detractors quelled and my enemies failing. Feliz Navidad to me. And, I’m grateful for good men. There’s a lot of them out there. We should remember that more often.
I’m grateful to my friend, Denise who taught me how to drink beer. I’m not as fond of it as other beverages, but it’s a safe bet in a sketch bar. I’m grateful a bar is next door to my mechanic. He doesn’t know it, but its location is the prime reason I seek his services. I can get a smog anywhere. And, I’m grateful I discovered the strength of detachment. You never see Buddha in a political protest.
These past few months have been difficult and trying. The short days and long nights don’t help, which is why I’m so grateful for the tradition of holiday lights. It’s uplifting to see the neighborhood dressed up – bright, and shiny. It gives you hope. I’m grateful for my ability to say No. It is a complete sentence. Whenever I say it, I piss people off. But, I see how much people who can’t say No suffer, and it’s worth the wrath. And, I’m grateful for men who can cook. Somethin’ kinda sexy about watching your dinner being flipped around in a pan.
As we await the big weather “event” here in California, I’m grateful for the light drizzle, and a few minutes to gaze out the window and marvel at the wonders of water. I’m grateful that even though I can’t bring my whole self to work, I bring my best self, and most fully-present self to work. My whole self? I don’t think anyone is really quite ready for that. And, I’m grateful that’s I’ve put in enough time this past month to finally be a tiny bit ahead at work and life. The stress of being behind is too much for me to take, and now that the big hump is behind me, I feel much more relaxed and in control. All things to be grateful for…