Wednesday, November 30, 2011

the feeling of gratitude

Swimming in gold

I’ve been finding it so difficult to write on this theme. On the one hand, there are so many things to be grateful for in my world that I couldn’t decide on just one to single out. But it’s also been difficult because even though I know in my head that I have so much to be grateful for, my emotions right now aren’t following suit. I know I’m grateful, but I’m struggling to get the feeling of gratitude up and running. Have you ever felt like that? I’m guessing most of us have.

Things go wrong and life doesn’t always go our way, but there are always two ways to tell the story. This year has a been a difficult one in many ways: my husband’s been made redundant, I’ve been ill for most of the year and not able to work, we have the resulting financial problems, we had the death of a close family member, and we have the current stress of what sometimes feels like fruitless job searching, with the accompanying worry of ‘what will happen if?’. But there’s another way to tell this story: unlike some, we have a decent redundancy package; we’ve had more time together in the last few months and have become closer; we’ve talked in depth about the things that are important to us; we’ve had to cut back in so many ways that it’s clarified our values and what matters most; although we lost someone, we’ve also given thanks for a life well lived; and we’ve realised how very much we really do have. There’s always two ways to tell the story, and to me that’s what gratitude is about: spending at least as much time focussing on what we have, as we do on what we don’t have.

When I get into this state where I can’t get at the feeling of gratitude any more, there are two things that save me – photography and getting outside into nature. Photography helps me lose myself and my worries for a few hours, and being in nature puts it all into perspective and makes me realise that in the big scheme of things, it’s all very small beer. And there’s always some little miracle of colour and light to lift the spirits, as in anngeedee’s lovely shot of swimming birds.

gilly of the camera points both ways

30 Days of Gratitude - Day 14.

13 comments:

Zinnia said...

Yes, Nature is a great healer and helps us come back to the basics of existence, to accept things as they are in the moment and to know that all passes and that nothing is at a standstill. Yes, we do well to observe nature for we can learn about life in doing so.

Greetings, Zinnia

Zinnia said...

P.S. Lovely shots!

Becs said...

Beautifully and honestly written and a great perspective. Photography and nature are my 'go-tos' as well. Love the light in the first image. Thank you for sharing.

urban muser said...

what a beautiful post gilly. i love your perspective.

Becky Sue said...

I've been thinking lately, over the past several months as we've been dealing with our own family health issues, that these challenges force us to search for gratitude. If life was all fairy dust we'd take the good things for granted. Wishing you peace.

I, too, find solace in nature and photography.

anngeedee said...

Gilly, thank you for featuring my shot. Your words could not have been more timely as I find myself feeling the same way at the moment. We have so much to be grateful for, but sometimes it's hard to get into that frame of mind. I am thankful that my camera helps to bring the focus on what I have a hard time saying.

gina said...

Thank you for sharing this -- I think we all feel challenged to find the good in the difficult experiences. Nature is a great teacher. Best wishes.

Your first image is stunning!

Kirstin said...

Gilly, you have have had such a difficult year, but I love your ability to turn it around. And I know that next year will be better. x

Kat Sloma said...

Thank you for sharing this difficult post, Gilly. I find the same - photography and nature both change my outlook. Lovely pairing of images!

Lissa @ lafcustomdesigns said...

I love the way you turned sadness, hurt, and possibly anger inside out and found things to be grateful for. What a wonderful example of how we can choose our perspective. Easier said than done some days, but bravo for you! Lovely, simply lovely, photos. I especially like the one of the flock's white behinds with the placid lakes ripples behind them. ;->

Christina said...

gilly, i adore this post. i really do.
i send you love.
xo

Anna said...

Gilly, your photo is just delicious!!! The color, light, pattern, and reflected light is all amazing!
Wishing you health and wonderful opportunities in 2012.

Holly {Soupatraveler} said...

Gilly, this is such an amazing post. you are so honest and open and beautiful and your hope is an inspiration to us all. i'm so sorry about your tough year, but heartened to hear that you're able to find beauty in the sadness, to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

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