On What Goes Noticed
By Tracy Bleier
I write this from an orange chair in my living room. The cat sits nearby. My husband is a few feet away at our kitchen table. He types on his laptop. Then stops and he reads. I hear the dryer in the other room whirring. It is the middle of the afternoon. Our youngest is in school. The older boys are busy and content with where they are at the moment, and if I didn’t take a second to notice the feeling of appreciation wash over me, if I didn’t know myself enough to stop what I was doing and just take this in, and by this, I mean the moment, the one I read about, teach about, try to hold in my hands— I might have missed this. I could just have easily buried it with a stack of tedious to-do lists and worries. How many moments, moments that live for seconds or minutes that have beckoned me to see that right here, right now, life is beautiful— How many of them have gone unnoticed?
I feel particularly grateful right now. I just finished teaching a stunning five days with my husband. Everything about teaching with Mitchel inspires me. It always has. I suspect that feeling is the one I speak about in class — that knowing, that underlying unmistakable message that reads I am exactly where I should be. So for the past few days, ever since I learned we would be reuniting to teach again in this new city, with new information, and with new students, I was nearly floating on gratitude. Thank you for this I think I said out loud to nobody. Thank you for this feeling. And since I hadn’t taught with Mitchel for several years, nor did I think I ever would again, I instinctively vowed to treat this moment with the utmost care. To do this right. To pay attention, carefully and completely. To make this last as long as I could.
I wish I could say that I spent a majority of my days walking around filled to the brim with gratitude. I hear reminders about it. When I am in yoga. Or the quotes on Instagram. Gratitude sounds lovely. And logical. But I can’t say that in all moments of my life, as I have aimlessly walked around let's say feeling sorry for myself, or jealous, or afraid, or needy that I called upon gratitude to come to my rescue. I wish I had.
Two weeks before Mitchel and I launched this new vision for an advanced teacher training he made gratitude book and asked our nine-year-old son and me if we wanted to participate in the fifteen day ritual where the first thing in the morning we would write in the lined spaces our answers to the prompt: Today, I am grateful for… And, underneath, we would write responses to the second prompt: Today, I will be helpful to… by…We would then share our answers around the dinner table that night. I always prized my husband for having a technically brilliant mind. He knew so much about such deep, complex topics in science and art, in philosophy, in mythology. HIs breadth of knowledge in yoga and the body is astounding. So when he presented this simple, DIY booklet he laid out, printed, folded and stapled at home I was like, “Gratitude? That’s all?” I placed this expectation on him that whatever ideas he brought to the table had to be more cerebral. But looking back on the last years of what has been a complicated, overly busy and stressed life, returning to something as simple as being grateful felt perfectly timed.
Writing in my own thin homemade journal each morning for two weeks changed things. Those changes might have been easy for me to wave away or dismiss as coincidence. I was more energized and motivated to wake up in the morning. Even for my 6 am private which I habitually complained about. Instead, I walked into the kitchen when it was still dark and with my booklet, pen, and coffee set on the table I wrote down my gratitudes for the day. It could have easily been just another morning of my life, grabbing the coffee to go, slipping on my boots and heading into the night sluggish and groggy, half awake. But the pause, the making time and space to consider my life in this way, to stop and choose from the many possibilities that were floating around like particles, and bring one to light. Today I am grateful for good coffee. For family. For working with Mitchel again. For Facetime where I can see my sons’ faces from so far away. And later that night I would learn over the course of the two weeks that my son who is nine is grateful for God and his kitty and for being alive. And that Mitchel would be helpful to us by paying attention to his words. To his tone.
In a matter of days, the atmosphere in what was already a healthy home amplified tenfold. And aside from the ways in which gratitude and service infused my home life, it breathed new life into my teaching, and my practice and my work. I am even convinced that gratitude itself was the gentle force that swayed this advanced training into the vision it is now.
It has been two weeks since I completed the booklet and placed it among the many journals and notes I keep stacked on my bookshelf in my bedroom. Mitchel sits near me now laying out a newer version that in a few days we will mail to all the teachers who participated in the training. I am excited for the day they get the package and open it and for the ways they will not only remember what we shared in such a short time, but what they will begin to grow and nurture in their respective lives.
And how that whoosh of gratitude keeps waving in, magnifying the most invisible moments and helping me to see them as the miracles they are.
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