Return to Gratitude

Sunday morning came accompanied by my usual ritual; I open my eyes, wonder where I am because for a brief moment all is a blur, that is until my eyes gain focus and then in an instant I remember.  I reach for my cell phone to confirm the hour, stretch a bit, and then rise, but wait; I’m not alone.  Lying next to me is The Judge telling me I should have gotten up sooner, along with The Drill Sergeant who points at my stomach and pudgy arms demanding that I drop (in the voice of my son) and give him 10 push-ups, (I can’t even endure one) and The Victim who tells me to simply pull the cover over my eyes and go back to sleep.

Where am I when all of this is happening?  If I am not aware of the dynamic trio’s presence, usually, I’m getting tossed back and forth in between them; that is until I put a stop to it.  As I prepare to brew my coffee, I hear the judges voice (who seems to be the loudest) I shush him/her out loud as if you would a child or unless you’re Cesar Millan who teaches you to be calm and assertive when taming a pet.  “Shhht!”  I say several times as I shake my head.

I return to my room for a moment of silence.  For about an hour I relish in the blissfulness of peace and quiet.  I pay homage to my ancestors thanking them for their life and sacrifices in order for me to be here.  I offer a prayer for my children, my sweetheart, my family for protection, grace, favor, abundance.  I take responsibility in creating my day and voice my affirmation with willful intent. I walk out the door feeling enlightened, uplifted, safe, secure, with a knowing that I was about to have a wonderful day.  But, as the day unfolded, so did I.

I left later than I wanted, so I allowed The Judge to speak in a steady murmur.  Since I was already “late” I decided to pick up my daughter so we could have breakfast before she went to work. She asked if we could make a quick run to the pet store.  We spent an hour spewing venom complaining about running the errand and yet we both chose to do so.  When we arrived at her work, we got lost in the parking structure (a garage that we’ve parked at many times).  Because she was now running late for work, we skipped breakfast but I had already promised my other daughter that I would take her a coffee.  My youngest daughter admonished me to skip the Starbucks line because I was already in a bad mood and the people around me would bother me.  I ignored her counsel.

I got in line, and kept throwing darts from my eyes to a female who I thought was standing too close to me.  I then became annoyed because they ran out of bagels.  As I waited for the rest of my drinks, the same lady that was breathing down my neck (not really) approached the counter where my wraps had been placed, she examined the bags individually and tossed them back not knowing they belonged to me.  I took position in my famous Chola stand, along with my death stare while reciting silently ,”Pain” as if I was Dakota Fanning’s character in the Twilight saga (not really, thank God I don’t have that power!).

Dakota Fanning (Jane) Twilight Saga
Dakota Fanning (Jane) Twilight Saga: Eclipse

As the lady caught my glance and felt my fiery eyes, (I’m sure) she stepped back.   When I asked the barista for a tray, she said I could have one if I was willing to wait five minutes. I was indignant, puffed, and didn’t offer a response.  She then walked away with a, “You’re welcome!”  At that point I noticed I didn’t have a straw for my daughters drink, and rather than ask the barista, (whom I’ve already judged as incompetent) I went behind the counter and reached for it myself.  The small young girl came out, and in an upset tone said, “I can get you your straw.”  Again, I ignored her and competed in reaching for the straw.  When I looked up I was completely surprised by my daughter, “Hi momma!”  She looked at me with query.  I was so embarrassed because I knew she knew I was being rude and furthermore, she always checks me when I’m ready to fight someone in the grocery line (all my children do).

We had coffee as I continued to complain about my morning.  My daughter smiled and chanted, “What in me created you?”  Ugh!  (I know, I know.)  Then, I didn’t want to drive (I drive with a ride share service provider).  Once I got back to my car, I took a deep breath, and sent a text apologizing to my girls for my poor behavior.

Me:  “My girls; forgive my ill temper, complaints, and rudeness.  Not sure how I created this morning, but the fact is that I did because I was there.  It’s so much easier to shift blame on to someone else in order to allow ourselves to wallow in self pity.  Sorry to the girl at Starbucks who was just doing her job and the best she could.  I always want to be an example of kindness and understanding to you both.  Sometimes the Chola in me comes out with a vengeance.  I’m sorry, please forgive me, I love you, Thank You.”

JLo, Image from Video, “I’m Into You”

Brontë:  “Hahaha, I love you so much Mama.  Best thing you have taught me even when you’re not your best is that it’s ok.  No need to be sorry to us.  Just be aware like you always taught me, and move on to a greater day.”

Priss: “You are wise my fwend!  I’m such a Chola also.  Cholas unite!”

I had a good laugh, turned on my app and went on my way.

My first ride was a father and son who were waiting for me on Sunset Blvd.  I couldn’t turn into the valet pick up because they were blocking it.  They struggled to load their luggage which was very obvious to me.  I explained they could load one piece of luggage in the front seat.  The gentlemen made one attempt and said, “It doesn’t fit.”  I asked him to place it on top of the seat, and wrapped the seat belt so it wouldn’t move.  He seemed amused.

My second ride were a pair of women who complained the entire way about their jobs,  the men in their lives and how they were looking for their future husband and kept giving me commands on what lane to drive in, route to take, music to play, and music source (one was adamant that I turn on the radio).  After dropping them off at their destination,  I wanted to turn off my app and just go home, but decided to see it through.  I could hear my daughter’s voice dosing me with my own medicine, “What in me created you Momma?”  I kept chanting my Ho’oponopono without thought.  It’s all I could do.

With each ride, my day got better.  And then my last ride came, and with it full acceptance of my day and myself.  The two gentlemen whom were a couple had a beautiful energy.  As they asked about my day, I took a deep breath and spoke my truth, “If I’m being honest,” I said “I’m completely off.  I spent an hour meditating, listened to Deepak Chopra, and the mantra for today was, “Today I will bond with others.  Why?  Because the other is myself only in disguise.”  And then, I wanted to slap the poor girl at Starbucks and kick a pair of women off my car.”  We all laughed, and one of them replied with the following, “Some days, all you can do is the best you can and that’s it.”  He spent the next forty minutes offering words of encouragement, love, light and full acceptance of myself, yes, even the Chola in me.  After dropping them off in Downtown Los Angeles, I immediately turned off my app.  That was it.  I felt that life sent me a raft and I was going to stay on it.  I had just enough time to pick up my daughter from work, we had dinner together and I drove home.

As soon as I arrived back in what I call the desert, my apprehensive state of making the hour drive home vanished.  I saw the rocky hills resting upon the sunset light, paved with barren land that glistened with sand that dances with the wind; all of them welcoming me home with silence, love and peace.

Sunset, Lake Los Angeles, CA
Sunset, Lake Los Angeles, CA

The morning  came and I filtered through my emotions wondering how I created the day priorThen, all of a sudden, my vision became clear.  I spent the morning complaining about an errand that could have easily waited until the end of the day.  Although my daughter and I didn’t have breakfast, we had a beautiful picnic dinner at the park. The young girl at Starbucks was probably not responsible for ordering the trays that ran out (which in the end I didn’t need and would have thrown away).  She reflected upon me a mirror of how she took everything personal with her responses that echoed her feelings of personal insult.

The gentlemen who ignored the fact that they were stopping traffic while fussing to fit luggage that had an obvious solution, offered a mirror of how at times I could be oblivious to my surroundings; how my interference blocks other peoples flow, and how sometimes it takes a different point of view to solve what one might deem is a problem when all along, the answer is directly in front of you.

The women who talked excessively about finding a future husband, yet the entire time they complained about the company they keep,; reflected how I can follow some of the rituals of being a woman and fuse conversations with each other that will only further breed more of what we don’t want, and then project our frustrations upon the men in our lives who only reflect our own insecurities.

And lastly, the beautiful couple who mirrored life cradling me with full acceptance and forgiveness, as you would a baby who cries because it wants to be held, telling me, “Some days all you can do is the best that you can.” Aren’t we all?   After a few hours of walking with the Judge, The Drill Sergeant and The Victim, I parted ways and Returned to Gratitude.

I forgot that only a few months ago I was depressed (and stressed)! I had zero money.  No job.  No car.  No career.  I was crying everyday because I wasn’t living with my children and was just a mess!  Presently, I’ve embraced the fact that my children are on their own and thriving.  They call me everyday and are always asking me if I need anything.  I’m living with the man I love in a city that breeds serenity.  I have steady income.  I’m writing.  My cost of living is a fraction of what it was. I have the freedom to do whatever I want which is to know myself (my true self).  And I just bought a new car!  The list goes on and on.  How could I have forgotten?  But, I did forget.  It seems that sometimes, we all forget.

As your day unfolds (and maybe you do to) and you’re faced with situations that make you uncomfortable, remember to always ask yourself, “What in me created you?”  The Judge, The Drill Sergeant and The Victim only exist because You invented them.  And if you find yourself being tossed back and forth in between the trio (that you created and reveals itself in your experience) Return to Gratitude.  When you’re feeling frustrated and stuck; Return to Gratitude.  If you feel sad or depressed; Return to Gratitude.  And when all else fails, always, always, Return to Gratitude.  Then be a watchful observer for with every breath you will witness the miracle that gratitude brings.

Love and light,

Michelle

One thought on “Return to Gratitude”

  1. Mija,

    As always, I admire you for being honest, and being yourself. That is the only way we can learn from each other. Most of us just fake and mask what we are really feeling so we can be accepted, but that will never work, because what you put out there, in the matter of thought, word of action will come back to you. All of us create our own reality by that, whether you are conscious of it or not.

    Love you!

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