Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by A. Paul Miller, author of The Mindful of Calm.
As we lead up to the holidays and start to think about our Christmas lists and what we want to put on them, it is a good time to reflect on what we already have and for what we should be grateful already having. Let me share an experience with you that I always remember when I get the urge to want more.
Several years ago, while visiting a friend in the hospital who was recovering from a stroke, he mentioned how much we can take our health for granted. I suddenly found myself telling him about this experience I had previously had.
An evening spent ironing: yay!! The wardrobe was empty, and I had run out of clothes; they had all been worn and washed over the last few weeks, and the very large pile of ironing was now a serious obstacle to finding somewhere to sit on my three-person couch. Since this was a job that I was going to “enjoy immensely,” it required a DVD and several beers to drink while executing the process to help alleviate the boredom. With a DVD selected and some beers lined up, all I needed was the iron and ironing board.
So, into the small kitchen I went looking for the ironing board. Nothing there.
Well, maybe it’s in the pantry. No, nothing there.
Well, it’s not in the sitting room, as I would never leave it out for visitors to see.
What about the downstairs cloakroom? No, not there.
I would never have put it in the garage, but I had better check just in case. Nope, not there.
Oh, for goodness sake, I thought to myself. I live in a small, 1300-square foot townhome; how difficult can it be to hide an ironing board from yourself?!
Pause and breathe, Paul. Okay, Paul. Slow down. Start at the beginning and go through the whole house again, slowly.
So, back into the living room I went. I glanced at my watch; it had been twenty minutes since I first started my search. I was starting to get very frustrated.
Open a beer and pause a moment, I thought.
As I went back into the kitchen to get the beer, there was the board, leaning against the kitchen wall! I had put it there many many weeks earlier and had walked passed it so many times that it had ceased to be separate from the wall. For all intents and purposes, it had become a part of the wall. In that moment of realizing why I had not seen it, I suddenly had a intuitive leap relating to gratitude. I wondered how many things I have in my life, that are always in front of me, for which I should be grateful, but never see any more.
I wondered: just how many “ironing boards” did I have in my life? How many things do we all have in our lives, like friends, family, health, and shelter, that we take for granted and never appreciate that they are there?
Right now, stop and think for a moment, and name a couple of the “ironing boards” in your life.
Our thanks to Paul for his guest post! For more from A. Paul Miller, PhD, read his article “Applied Meditation: Make Changes in Your Everyday Life with Meditation.”