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added Mar.22

Cultivating Gratitude
by Bessie Stewart

In Chinese Meridian theory my two sons, Monty (8) and Griffin (4), would be considered balancing types -- small intestine and heart respectively. In a lot of ways they are like an old married couple. The two of them just now are sitting in a patch of late afternoon sun in the same overstuffed chair playing -- not together, but together. Griffin is playing what he believes to be a video game on an old cell phone and Monty has constructed a series of adventure games on a pillow on the radiator behind the chair. At any moment this could turn into the most bitter of fights where Monty nonchalantly declares he wants to be ALONE and Griffin decides he, not his brother, is stupid and will never be his friend again. OR it could go on for hours just like it is until the stomach growls or a new idea comes along.

Monty by rank, but also by his yang, is the dominant of the two and highly geared toward compliments. He has a sort of dandy approach to talking that is definitely increased by his Gemini energy. Monty will wake up in the morning after a sleep that an earthquake could not disturb, sweet sleepy look in his eyes, holding his best friend, a home made doll named Rick, and say, “I had the best night sleep ever. I had the best dream ever. Wanna hear about it?” So he begins to expound on some adventure full of odd twists and turns where I am not sure it was the best dream ever, but he definitely thinks so.

Griffin on the other hand suffers from fitful sleep often having nightmares where he cries out about how Monty is achieving all the glory. Sometimes he wakes up in bliss, but as often as not, his eyes are dry or stuck and he is grumpy. He pees like an old man, using the wide band from his big boy boxers to sort of prop his penis while using both hands to scratch his belly, growling a bit and swaying.

He wants everything NOW and then when he gets what he wants, he does not want it anymore, he wants what Monty has or what someone he has seen with something has, because he never forgets anything. He wants the “so, so, so, so, so, best treat ever, like ice cream or candy or somfing so, so, so, so good.” FOR BREAKFAST… and lunch, and dinner. And to say no to such unending desire is impossible. (Dare I say he is a Scorpio, and that must have something to do with it, but I am a Scorpio too so, that cannot have anything to do with it right?)

But both of them have their areas where they are highly ungrateful. For Monty it is dinners and food. He doesn't like most foods. And Griff -- well everything else really, at any moment, can hit him the wrong way and bring out a tirade or even a full day of seeing the cup not just half empty but entirely dry of anything. It is not the pleases and thank yous that are missing, but there is a kind of dissatisfaction with what is coming, what is there in front of them and what has been.

Its funny having one child who primarily is constantly seeing things in their upside, and another who has these deeply passionate downswings where life sucks and then you die -- at four!

I knew this old shaman woman. Well, she is not even fifty yet, but her shaman lives add up to millennia, I am convinced. She told me once that children are in their mother's auric field until they turn eight. To me, I always saw this as progressing up the chakras one chakra per year. So Griff is in the heart chakra right now. He is like a heart type in the heart chakra -- totally intense kid. And Monty is finally freewheeling which is pretty cool for him and me. I am happy not to feel so responsible for everything.

This past week, wow, was the glass half empty for me. And I was noticing how dark Griffin's yin was getting. WOAH! How many times he was waking up in the night. Just the rage that was coming from both of us, I thought was really interesting, because in Meridian Theory the heart is where love and hate are housed, where forgiveness and acceptance are centered and where the higher energies touch ground in the physical. Of the four physical energies, the heart is one of two feminine energies. The lungs, where power and boundaries are housed, is the other. Would you imagine that love and hate were feminine energies? I am deeply feeling that they are.

I was wondering, what in goddess's name is going to get me out of my funk, because I am ornery and I see it is effecting Griffin's life from the inside out and Monty's from the outside in and I just hate that feeling that I am wrecking their quality of life by my trip! Truth is, at a certain point, I don't think there is anything more to learn from a state of mind or an experience and then you are just meant to get out and find your bliss again. FOUR days of hell seemed plenty for me -- and them.

So I was remembering what has worked in the past. Funny, last time this happened it was a similar time of year. Dead of winter, wanting to move out of hibernation, not feeling free physically with all the layers of clothes, having bouts of dormant chi and definitely not getting to play barefoot with my great mother earth!

And so I remembered what I did then that got me out of it. GRATITUDE. Generally a couple of times a week I write down my thanks pretty loosely in my date book. And you know, I thank my salad greens. I thank the sunrise. I thank Griffin's sleeping toes. I thank Monty for being such a sport all the time. But it had not been what I once had done, real purposeful lists of written gratitude as a daily practice. I was remembering how much it had changed my life. How much in the flow of everything I was. My resistance to receiving what I wanted passed. And most of all, the kids were the most unbelievably happy, grateful children I have ever met, true inspirations!

Who cares why I stopped then. Now it is time to get back to what worked for me. So this morning I got up at six AM, made some coffee and sat down with my little laptop and did the real deal. Here's how it went for me.



I am grateful for waking up early this morning.

I am grateful for the heaters shorting out the power in the Florida room so that I can dance after breakfast when it would make me happier.

I am grateful for the glowing bean shaped cloud in the morning sky right now.

I am grateful for yesterday's amazing display of lights, clouds, and sky!

I am grateful for all the wisdom that realizing B is not what I really want has brought into my life over the past four days.

I am grateful for R's understanding in my decision to quit the fund raising committee.

I am grateful that I told my little brother next week he is fending for himself.

I am grateful for the pussy willows and crazy bendy willows coming to life in the vase.

I am grateful for March being the end of winter.

I am grateful for my website coming together.

I am grateful for the sun rising noticeably over the mountains with such a cool orange aura right now.

I am grateful for realizing why people worshipped the sun as a god right at this very moment.

I am grateful for the movie Troy and all the amazingly well built men, but especially Brad Pitt.

I am grateful for allowing Griffin's stinky breath and not feeling like it means anything at all.

I am grateful that my parents are gone to the Yucatan to buy a house.

I am grateful that any day now, I could be divorced.

I am grateful for my Inner Being.

I am grateful for my ability to see the unseen and that it creates such magic in my life.

I am grateful for the adventure in clothing I am finally going on.

I am grateful for the whole plant kingdom that loves me with such complete abandon and perfection.

I am grateful that I can shift my energy at any time to be more uplifted by being grateful.


And the most amazing thing has happened. Griffin woke up happy as a clam, sat on my lap at the dining table at 6:30 and told me how HAPPY HE WAS -- no really, literally. They both ate their breakfast entirely, no hitch. No one has asked for candy or a treat or a new toy today. The boys have not hit each other today. Everyone is all lovey-dovey with each other and the compliments are flowing. We all sat at the table and drew with colored pencils and I did not feel the least bit put upon because I really wanted to color with them. And on and on it goes, besides the fact that I had a good idea for a Planet Waves Parenting article. I'll call it -- Cultivating Gratitude. By the way this gi-normous orange I am eating right now TASTES GREAT! I think it very well may be the best tasting orange I have ever had. Really.

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