You may or may not know that in addition to being an occasional blogger and an educator, I am also a visual artist and sell prints of my work through my business, Alligator Woods Creations (link above).
A few weeks ago I made a commitment to my small but mighty subscribers to share with them a hit of education and inspiration every week for the next fifty two weeks.
Well, three weeks in my computer died. Below is a tiny glimpse into some of the lessons I learned:
In the words of my mother, “The Devil is a Liar!”
And as Kanye would say, “I can feel him breathin’”
Indeed, a few weeks ago I made an earnest promise to send my beloved community a hit of inspiration every week for the next 52 weeks. Well, three weeks into the commitment in my head and in my heart I woke up to find my computer completely dead!!
Did I panic? Of course.
Did thoughts of all of the beautiful music and wonderful recipes that I had gathered over the past four years, all the precious, inimitable work that I would lose swirl around in my head? Of course.
But then I stopped. And I breathed.
And then I remembered the meditation practice that I had been cultivating for the past 170 days straight.
And then I turned to my space/moment of refuge. I grabbed my phone that I had to replace a few months ago (that’s another story), scrolled through my Insight Timer app and found a sweet and short reflection by Brother David Steindl-Rast entitled “A Good Day, A Grateful Day.”
I sat myself down on my cushion, settled in and listened to the words of wisdom that reminded me to not sweat this small thing. I found myself crying tears of joy and gratitude for the incredible gift of this life.
Five minutes later I stood up with a different perspective; one that allowed me to be grateful for the ability to open my eyes and see, to stand, to walk, to drink my jar of clean, cool water with lemon each morning, to have the quiet, deeply nurturing space in which to meditate, to gaze at the bright red of my bookcase that holds so many novels that I love and can hold in my hands like The Joys of Motherhood by Buchi Emecheta, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz, 419 by Will Ferguson, Ben Okri’s The Famished Road…this list of gifts is infinite, of course.
And in that state of gratitude I realized that I had several options, one of which was to check out my external drive to see what I had backed up. I also have another computer so I wasn’t completely without technology. And the Apple Store was open again (kind of) so I could make the trip in my car that runs perfectly on a clear, sunny day to figure out next steps.
This example of the power of gratitude may sound trite, but let’s face it, we rely really heavily on our computers these days. And many of us would have freaked the f*&# out when confronted with that black screen.
A few months ago I would’ve freaked out. If I had awoken to such a thing I would’ve turned around and crawled back into bed, bereft of all hope. But the world was a very different place a few months ago and my head and heart were in a very different place.
It is an example of one way that living in a state of gratitude can have a profound impact on one’s life.
I can’t say I won’t go back to my old way of fretting and gnashing my teeth in the future or heck, even later today, but for that morning my perspective expanded, instead of contracted. I tuned into the moment and got in touch with the truism that Thich Nhat Hanh vocalizes : that “peace is every step.” It’s one of the many superpowers of gratitude.
Another thing that my mother used to say was, “God helps those who help themselves.”
So, in practical terms I did make my way to the Apple Store as soon as it opened to find a line about 20 people deep, only to be told when I reached the front that no one could take a look at my machine and they didn’t have any in stock. After much persistence on my part (‘cause that’s how I roll) I was allowed very briefly into the store, but only after I was asked a series of health-verifying questions and a security guard took my temperature (kudos to Apple).
Everything worked out in it’s own way. When I got back home I did about an hour and a half of trouble shooting with Apple’s wonderful support team via chat and in the time it took for my new computer to arrive (about a week) I spent more time outside hugging trees and gazing at the sky, reading novels (mostly on my Kindle), and putting to paper several images that had for months, been swarming in my mind’s eye.
Till next week, ya’ll!!