An odd sort of gratitude

What makes you choose to be grateful? How often do you think about it?

The topic is on my mind tonight because I’m really missing my favorite show, The Walking Dead.  The season finale was last week, so I’m in a slight mourning period until next fall. To be totally honest, this show makes me connect more deeply with a sense of gratitude for my life.

Say what? No really.  Sorry to disappoint you, but it’s not a spiritual text or deeply sacred ritual that is lighting my gratitude fire these days (though at times it has been).  Right now, it’s a highly sensationalized  TV drama that I’m totally hooked on.  Here’s why:

Have you every heard the term “First world problems”? Those are the things that many of us get caught up in on a daily basis that suck away our connection to happiness, peace and gratitude, but really have no bearing on life.  Examples include things like Starbucks getting your order wrong, your iPhone not working, or other more major issues like trying to find a house to buy in the right neighborhood.  I live in a world where I have luxury of those complaints, yet my brain gets exhausted by them because they are endless, mindless, and driven by ego, and they zap me of my gratitude almost immediately. It is amazing to me how pissed off I can get about something as small as the copier at work not functioning, when simulatneously, at that very moment ,thousands of tiny miracles are happening in my body just to keep it functioning normally, yet there I am grumbling about double-sided copies.  Good grief!

This is how The Walking Dead helps me.  That show is really not about the zombie apocalypse, but about the personal transformation that happens when civilization is stripped of its order and structure and comforts, and  humans are left to decide who they will become and what they will stand up for (family, freedom, security, integrity). Not everybody’s choice on the show is pretty, or rooted in good intentions. In many ways the show reminds me of the book “Lord of the Flies”.  I see it as look at how we choose to become if we are given a blank slate and no social expectations. Which wolf do we feed when things get tough, the Dark Wolf, or the Light? What if my copy machine issues didn’t exists? The essence of survival, just even thinking about it, immediately puts me in a place of appreciating all that I have.

Since watching the show I’ve been more apt to say prayers of gratitude every day. Partly this is because each Sunday night, when I go to bed after an episode, I think about what I would do if the world went to shit.  I think about my family, and how cherished they are to me and that I’d want to get us together as much as possible. I think about my able body, and wow- how amazing that I can run, jump, walk, climb and move any way that I want to (and so that I could run away from zombies, haha).  I think about how lucky I am to have whatever food I desire at my fingertips and I’m not relegated to eating whatever life puts in front of me. I think about my safety and knowing how I can rest easy at night without worry of my life being threatened. I guess I need something as dramatic as a TV show to remind of that because my ego has one heck of a thick skull.

I guess I wanted to share this with you tonight for two reasons. The first is that I want to give you permission to accept that whatever inspires you to be grateful is just fine.  I have no shame in saying out loud for me that it’s a TV show.  It may not be very ‘yogic’ or very ‘zen’, but it works for me.  That’s me being real. The second thing I want to say, is that if you want to change your life in any way, big or small, start with being grateful for what you have.  I NEVER regret naming off in my mind, to the universe and my own little soul, what I appreciate about life.  So, despite the fact that there is no Walking Dead tonight, I’m going to keep my ritual going, and tonight I’m so grateful that these hands can type these words, these eyes can see this page, and that I can rest easy knowing that the only demons I fight are the etherical demons of my ego. I am a lucky girl.