You may have noticed I'm not numbering these anymore. Why? It started with my friend Andrea.
She and I often talk about mindfulness, taoism, zen stuff, all that "woo". I was joking with her months ago that when the new year came around, I might label each one "#365Gratitude Day 1", because really today is the only day there is anyhow.
It was going to be a grand joke. I'd just start labeling things that way, and wait for people to notice, or not.
As I got closer to the actual day, I brought it up with Squee, who I do talk to rather a lot. That's one of the weird, wonderful ironies of the long-distance relationship. We spend vast amounts of time together, at a distance, every day. We share a lot of our thoughts, big ones and little ones, and just noodle about them.
I was telling her about my big numbering plan, which as I got closer to it, I was agonizing about a bit. Should I do it, or not do it? Was the pithy humor and zen lesson of it worth the change? (All of which is a bit vain anyhow, because this is just my blog. If this writing of mine is a star, it's just a tiny, little one amongst a galaxy of countless billions.)
That was when, in a caregiving way, Squee pointed out to me that it wasn't a choice between just the joke, or the numbers. She showed me how the numbering either way was a sort of expectation, and even comparison. She reads my blog fairly regularly and notices my little jags of not-blogging for days, then rushing all at once to catch it up. Often, when that has happened in the past, I'll apologize for the delay, as if I'm letting people down.
But that's not the deal. It's the very opposite of mindful practice. She asked me, in that lovely, caregiving way she has, "Why number them at all?"
This is where the wolves come in.
That's a little tiny bit of a favorite Zen Pencils comic of mine, The Two Wolves. It's awesome, you should go read it. The essential idea is that there's a struggle going on at all times inside you, between good and evil. Which side will win? The one you feed.
Mindfulness is like that. It's a practice. You do it. Sometimes you don't do it, and then you remember to. I told Squee that this whole discussion reminded me of the comic. Because numbers, and years are arbitrary. So, focusing on making a "complete set" of gratitudes for a year is the very opposite of the wolf I am trying to feed.
These sorts of discussions are among the reasons I love and am grateful for her.