mindful: blessings

I heard recently that January is one of the most depressing months for people, as they're "coming down" from the holiday rush and it gets incredibly cold and lonely; people get cabin fever. It's understandable, I suppose, though for me, February is usually the more difficult month. Given that and combined with the tragedy in Haiti, I think the mindful prompt to think about blessings in your life comes at a good time. I do agree, however, with some of the comments on the prompt that to ignore our misfortunes isn't necessarily helpful since we lose the perspective that our challenges often bring. However, I think that kind of reflection is indeed one for a broader context and not a small moment reflection which is what I feel that this particular prompt encourages.

When I think about blessings I think about the pieces of my life that amaze me, that I can't quite figure out, and that invoke hope and appreciation. (On a side note, did you know that blessing is the collective noun for a group of unicorns? I didn't.)

I've mentioned several times (like here and here and lots of other places on the blog about how lucky I feel to have M not only as a part of my life but as my person, the one who for some unknown reason, chooses to love me. Every time I feel like I'm completely overwhelmed, like I just can't grade one more paper or think about one more reading for classes, M encourages me or tells me to get over myself; both responses are often necessary and equally appropriate with me. That's the thing though, she seems to know what will snap me out of my funk. It's amazing to me that after 5 years together I can fall more in love but I do. Last night, we had a date night, which we try to do periodically. M decided she'd let Jessi and Kaitlyn do her makeup and hair while I got ready. M doesn't wear makeup a lot because she has sensitive skin and it takes too much time and effort in her opinion. But occasionally, she will wear makeup and when she does I kinda feel like I did when we first met, all butterflies and clumsiness. So, we were dressed for a night out (don't get excited; we both wore jeans) and it reminded me of how nice it is to put in the effort. We went to Bacaro and did their six course tasting menu, which was a really fun experience. We'll post pictures later. The whole night out, however, I felt happy and loved. It was an amazing night, full of fantastic food and even better company. I feel lucky to be able to create and share moments like that with M.

Though it's challenging to try to juggle everything, I am blessed in my life to have so many great friends and colleagues. I've had a difficult transition (doesn't everyone?) from graduate student to professor but it's been much easier with good confidantes and mentors. I'm slowly beginning to see how things fit into place and am incredibly thankful for the support that has helped me do so.

I'm still thankful for all of the things on my grateful lists from November . But overall, I feel rich and blessed with people and their willingness to share ideas, challenges, advice, etc. I placed social media on my grateful list at Thanksgiving and since then, I've become more appreciative of the network of bloggers I read who encourage their readers to undertake projects like the blog challenge and the mindfulist, (for which we can thank Gwen Bell) Brene Brown's TGIF and countless others who have given me opportunities to stop, think and reflect. This not only enriches my personal growth but my prediction is that this will help me be a more effective teacher.

For all of you who read this blog on occasion and others who are following a similar path, I am blessed to be surrounded by you both virtually and on a daily basis.