“We are not the idea of us, not even the idea that we hold of us. We are us, multiple and varied, becoming. The heterogeneity of us. Blackness in a Black world is everything, which means that it gets to be freed from being any one thing. We are ordinary beauty, Black people, and beauty must be allowed to do its beautiful work.” Kevin Quashie describes in Black Aliveness, or, A Black Poetics of Being.
When life throws you curve balls to knock you off your feet and forces you to reassess everything in your life, this is when you lean into the practices which have seen you right.
Those practices which keep you buoyed when it appears you’re drowning or about to go down.
Those practice which you practice everyday but really come into their own when the chips our down.
One of those practices is keeping a gratitude journal. And it doesn’t have to be something major or time consuming.
Thinking on one simple thing is enough to switch my thinking, to get me to count my blessings and step up again. Renewed, restored and ready.
This week has been a week of happenings and announcements and shit hit the fan moments. But I’m alive and here to live another day. So all is not bad.
I’m a firm believer that things happen for a reason. Maybe to test us. Maybe to move us into a better situation. To gain clarity and perspective. To live a better life on my own terms.
This card ‘thunderstorm’ signifies tremendous upheaval and change, happening or about to. And it is out of my control. But I must keep the faith, trust in Mother Nature that these things are happening for the best.
Things are out of my control. But how I respond to this period of upheaval is within my control.
I’m choosing to count my blessings, lean into my practices and give thanks. Give thanks for all that is going right or is good in my life right now. Here and now.
I’m grateful for the light. I’m grateful for rest. I’m grateful for a warm comfortable bed. I’m grateful for morning coffee. I’m grateful for time spent with the people I love. I’m grateful for my health. I’m grateful for my creativity. I’m grateful for all the opportunities which have and are coming my way. I’m grateful for food in the cupboards. I’m grateful for the roof above my head. I’m grateful for the air I breathe. I’m grateful for the earth between my toes. And I’m grateful for the water that holds me.
As it stands I’ve completed 20 miles of the 52.4 miles for the month of May. Nearly half way there and not even half way through the month yet. So pleased with how I’m moving.
I’ve mentioned my mum and walking , but she’s not my only inspiration when it comes to putting one foot in front of another.
At this time of year when growing up in Bradford, May light nights and rising temperatures, after tea ( as I am a Yorkshire lass!), each evening we would go out for walks. Dad and Mum, sis and me.
Of course I didn’t want to do it. It felt like a punishment. A cruel exercise is working out our energy before bedtime. How I hated going to be in the light nights.
We set out from our maisonette flat, take the bridge over the dual carriage way, to walk up the hill past the textile factories and into the rabbit warren estates of ‘Little Jamaica’.
My only joys of these evening walks, we’re picking up scraps of fur from the toy making factories and lining my pockets with them so I could stroke their softness while I walked.
The only other joy was if we called in Dad and Mum’s friend Beverley who lived over on the other side of the road, who had a son called Ivor, that I quite liked. He had Thunderbirds toys I liked to play with too.
These evening walks were something I endured. Something to get through. Now as I’m older, appreciating the light nights for walks out, I’m inflicting the same ritual on my daughter when she’s staying with me. Ignoring her complaints and marching her out the door.
And on those evenings that I walk alone, covering more miles and sinking deeper into my body and the present moment, no longer needed are scraps of fur in my pocket to keep me walking.
The act of walking itself, being outside with all nature has to offer, with heart and soul open is enough to feel joy and gratitude and light.