Tag Archives: Trees

The Return of Conscious Gratitude: Thankfulness Thursday

Life is fuller with conscious gratitude. In the months following Thanksgiving, I realized something was missing without Thankfulness Thursdays. Today, a revival.

I’m thankful to be alive. I’m thankful for coworkers who listen, laugh, and cry with me. I’m grateful for enormous clouds filled with thunder and rain, kind enough to wait until the children go home. I’m happy that winter is nearing an end, grateful for my husband to join me in 29 years of life, our five months of overlapping age when he stops teasing me. I’m ecstatic that next week is spring break, thankful for sore cheeks from smiling too much during the talent show auditions.

I’m pleased our interim testing is done so that I can stop bribing tired children with handfuls of popcorn for every five problems they complete. I’m happy for the realization that peeling a mandarin orange each morning is enough to make that one enigmatic child feel safe, loved. I’m thankful I pushed my tired self to go to hot yoga, the warmth and peace seeping deep into my bones, glad I called my dad after work, just to say hi.

Mostly I’m grateful that no matter how challenging my day or week, there are people in my life who care enough to listen, read, and offer a helping hand. Reminds me a little of these two trees at my family’s house. They stand side-by-side through storms and wind and heat, their branches intertwined.

Two Trees

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Trees are still my friends.

It’s funny what stands out to us. Ever since I was a little girl, I always noticed trees. If there was a tree in our yard, I climbed as high as I could and sat and watched the world from above. I would push the palm of my hand against the tree’s bark and feel connected.

Moving from place to place, I often felt alone, but the trees were my friends. Even as a young teenager, I’d climb up the branches and find a spot to sit and write.¬†Often I climbed too high, regretting my decision as I clung to the branches on my way down. I had tree houses, tree swings, tree benches in the sky. I loved trees. They told me things. Like it was okay that we cut them down as long as we were grateful and used them wisely.

When we moved into our first house a few years ago, I was in awe of all the old trees in our neighborhood. From any window in my house, I could sit and stare at their magnificent branches. It truly was my favorite feature of our established neighborhood, the glorious old trees that guarded our little home, their leaves changing colors in the fall then reappearing again to signal spring.

One of the things I have noticed about slowing down to be more present is the trees. They stand out again to me. Not that they ever disappeared, but now they have returned to play a role in my daily life. At home, the spot I do my yoga and seated meditation looks up at the magnificent branches of an old tree. An altar more meaningful to me than any I could create.

At school, the trees remind me to breathe and that life is beautiful, even on tough days. The trees where we line up outside my classroom, their leaves amazing shades of red and orange call to me daily that life is precious, giving me a moment’s rest even as little voices sneak a few words in my line. There are also a set of trees down an old corridor of our previously Catholic girls school that may be the most beautiful sight on earth. A sea of pale yellow leaves beneath white bark on an old brick walkway, stunning.

What reminds you to stop and be? For me, it’s obviously the trees.

Meet my yoga tree. Staring at it day-to-day, I feel calm and amazed how much changes overnight.

Meet my yoga tree. From the floor, this is what I see. Staring at it day-to-day, I feel calm and amazed by how much changes overnight.

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