Yesterday SmirkPretty posted an amazing essay on 100 Blessings. Take a moment and read it. It’s worth your time. Seriously worth your time.
I decided to try it. Just look for a blessing, a small thing to be grateful for, a small thing that made me smile, a small thing of worth. 100 of those things in one day. I called them blessings, although I’m a non believer, because I think we all recognize that a blessing is a good thing in life, a thing worthy of gratefulness.
I really can’t tell you how ridiculous an undertaking this is for me. There have been times in my life, just as recent as last week, where I can’t find a glimmer of hope or light or good in the world because my brain has painted all the world into a deep void of darkness. On those days finding even one or two things to be grateful or happy about is an olympic level effort.
And then on a whim, inspired by a gorgeous blog post, I just decided to do 100 of them. In one day.
I took the approach that anything in my life or that touched my life, that was good, was a blessing worth counting. I got 20 done in less than 2 minutes. After that the hardest part was remembering. My brain is not in the habit of looking for the sparkles of light in the darkness that inhabits my life. I’m busy feeling my way in the dark.
But when I remembered, I could just look up and find 5 in under a minute. Look up right now and you can too. For example in front of me is a book shelf of my absolute favorite books in the world. Curled up next to me is a fluffy ball of pestering love, covering me is a quilt made by my grandma, under me is a comfortable bed, surrounding me is a safe apartment… Later it was the smell of cut grass, the newly planted flowers at work, the laughter of friends, the job, the purple pen, the kindness of my boss, the hard work of a co-worker, the generosity of a co-worker, the safety of the water I was drinking…
As the day progressed my day became lighter. I definitely forgot about it for hours at a time. And I lost track of what number I was on several times. I have no idea if I accomplished 100. I do know I accomplished a personal moment of revelation. I became both lighter in heart and more aware of my surroundings by merely noting to myself the blessing. It made me far more mindful.
The real question is – can this be done everyday? Can I count 100 blessings every day? The idea doesn’t seem overwhelming. The idea makes me smile. Perhaps it feels doable because I’m not at the bottom of the Abyss this week. But I will take it because it feels like a celebration rather than an existence.
6 thoughts on “Smiling like its normal”
I think if you work to name just five things when you’re in the Abyss, that will go a long way toward shortening your time in the dark.. Might also help you identify those things you can reach for as hand holds to help you climb a little ways out of the pit.
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I had an amazing reply to this. And then WordPress ate it and sent your comment to Spam. Because of this, WordPress is now my enemy. Well, maybe just for this morning, but its definitely sitting in frenemy status for a bit.
I’ve unspammed your comment, but I don’t have all the thoughts I expressed in that response at my fingertips anymore. It amounted to – thoughts don’t fix depression as much as thoughts don’t fix brain tumors. Although, I myself have a very hard time wrapping my head around that because it’s the thoughts and emotions that I experience. I don’t experience a broken brain meat.
I do think I can manage the worst of the symptoms with behavior and cognitive things, which is why I live my life on timers and I struggle to create habits so that those things will keep me moving when I live in the Abyss. I attempt to contradict my brain when it hurls horrible thoughts at me.
But this week I’m not in the Abyss and the 100 blessings was a way for me to experience the Good Day rather than just exist in it. And that is a blessing in itself.
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As I sit here in the music school -impatient and with a stiff neck – waiting for my daughter’s lesson to end, I thought following your example here might be a good idea. Got my Number 1 already. This post.
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What an inspiration! Thank you for putting another big helping of attention & gratitude into the world.
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100 blessings a day is tough, but you are right that if we really think about there are so many things around us that we can count. Anything that makes us smile or gives us comfort. Things that allow us to live or improve our condition. We so often wait for the big things that we forget to appreciate the little things, or take for granted the big things we already have. Great post!
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