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Familiar Gratitude

Familiar Gratitude

“When one’s expectations are reduced to zero, one really appreciates everything one does have.” – Stephen Hawking

Coming home from time away is one of the quickest routes to realizing just how lovely your daily life can be. Even the smallest of details in life, like washing your dogs has a kind of tenderness that is easy to overlook. The truth is that it is the most familiar pieces of our life that are the most cherished when life throws a wrench into our lives. It is the intimate details of living that we so readily take for granted that feel like perfect pearls when they are lost to us.

Traveling is one immediate way that reminds me of the pure comfort and pleasure of my own bed, the calming view from my bedroom window, the breathing, purring, licking sounds of my animals near me in the night.  Even things like dishes stacked and running out of dog food can awaken the heart to just how rich and full your daily life actually is.

My children have always figured big into how I experience my time. Yet as any mother would remind you, the days drag by and the years fly by. In the constant demands of growing up and growing old,  much of what is most familiar can easily turn tedious unless you are reminded of how brief the time we have with our kids actually is. For this, I leave my computer saver to an endless showing of old family pics that often catches me off guard. Times that feel so recent and vital to me are demonstrated as years away by the teeth coming in or falling out and the favored t-shirts long out-grown by multiple kids now.

Treasuring the familiar parts of life are a window into being fully present to the time available to you- the here and now.  Now when I get lost in thought or senseless worry, an old behavior that I used to use as a fear mechanism to jolt me back to my senses comes in with a gentle caress. What if this were the last day, the last moment of any of this?  What would I want to say, to remember, and to hold.

Last night on the way home, I tuned into an old country twang of the singer recounting the best years, the most tender caresses, the most heartfelt goodbyes and I realized that if only we would think of our lives right now this way- it would change everything.  Even the most challenging relationships lose their edge when faced with the truth of their brevity.

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Wendy Strgar

Wendy Strgar, founder and CEO of Good Clean Love, is a loveologist who writes and lectures on Making Love Sustainable, a green philosophy of relationships which teaches the importance of valuing the renewable resources of love, intimacy and family.  In her new book, Love that Works: A Guide to Enduring Intimacy,  she tackles the challenging issues of sustaining relationships and healthy intimacy with an authentic and disarming style and simple yet innovative adviceIt has been called "the essential guide for relationships."  The book is available on ebook.  Wendy has been married for 27 years to her husband, a psychiatrist, and lives with their four children ages 13- 22 in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

17 comments

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5:06PM PDT on Apr 11, 2012

ty

2:31PM PDT on Apr 11, 2012

Thanks!

7:06AM PDT on Apr 11, 2012

"Even the most challenging relationships lose their edge when faced with the truth of their brevity."

I disagree that facing the truth makes a relationship "lose it's edge". Facing the truth, no matter how harsh the truth, makes one appreciate the preciousness of life even more, and
grab for joy and happiness before it's too late. In truth and reality lies "hope", in fantasy lies
regret and confusion. We have the power to make lives our own little pie heaven, we just have to stop living in fear, shame and guilt.


3:15AM PDT on Apr 11, 2012

Thanks.

7:51AM PDT on Apr 10, 2012

Thanks.

4:44AM PDT on Apr 10, 2012

Thanks

3:48AM PDT on Apr 10, 2012

Thank you.

4:22PM PDT on Apr 9, 2012

..."the days drag by and the years fly by"... too true... if I had it to do over again, I wouldn't have children... fun when they're young... challenging as teens... then they marry and you never see them again... they rarely write, rarely call, and hardly ever stop by... even if you call, they "can't talk now"... email? they don't answer... try stopping by or inviting them over... they're "unavailable". As my dear departed father once said, "When you finally have time for your kids, your kids don't have time for you." So. I have a hobby I love and that's what gets me through the days (they no longer drag) and the years slow to a decent pace with projects and goals and an enormous sense of satisfaction at day's and year's end.

3:47PM PDT on Apr 9, 2012

"...the most challenging relationships lose their edge when faced with the truth of their brevity." a

sums it up! one day at a time~

1:50PM PDT on Apr 9, 2012

Great post, thanks =]]

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