I have spent a lot of time this week thinking about two concepts – gratitude and learning. I don’t think we usually put these two topics together, but I have realised that we can’t have one without the other.
This is a photo from a family picnic we were at last weekend. It was a fabulous day, but it wasn’t until I looked at my happy snaps that I felt grateful for the time together. You see, my morning before the picnic was full of grumbles, I was rushing to get the food prepared, concerned about the clothes my boys had chosen to wear for the day, anxious that my husband was late picking up my mother and aunt (and this meant we would be late getting there) and, to top it off, secretly annoyed that attending gathering meant I had less time to get my house work completed. Oh how foolish I was!
I’m grateful not only for being given the gift of time with my wonderful family, but I am also grateful for the opportunity to learn more about myself. I learnt that on that day, I forgot what was really important. It’s not keeping drinks cold, or kids in old tshirts, or being 15 minutes late. It certainly isn’t housework!! It’s about a connection with others, a chance to experience nature, and a realisation that we really only ever have the moment in time we are currently experiencing. That’s it – right here, right now. It takes courage to learn this.
I don’t think I could see the learning in this experience without also acknowledging the pain that is associated with it. It takes a brave person to admit I was more concerned with vacuuming than spending time with my sister. It was a painful reminder of how I view my life at the moment – living through the day rather than spending the day truly living.
Back in the 90′s I was fortunate enough to complete a course with Stephanie Burns called Training to Train. That course changed my thinking forever. One thing Stephanie told us is that often, learning isn’t easy. I think we forget that. Knowing is easy, learning isn’t.
This is the first horse I ever owned – Danny. Riding him was fun, learning to ride him wasn’t. I spent many hours chasing him around the paddock, or falling off during lessons. i was often winded, bruised and exhausted. It’s interesting how quickly I forgot these times once I had improved my horsemanship. Although not as literal as my Danny experience, my current life learning is the same. If I am willing to acknowledge that learning about myself might be hard at times, I have the beginnings of being a better person.