Shiny Thing Syndrome

birdy IMG_1893

I am a master procrastinator. Not proud, just practical. I don’t know that it’s that I really want to put things off, it’s just that I have so many things I could or should be working on that I shut down. I stare into space, usually my magical backyard, and wait for the priority to float to the top. Often it’s a nap, so I work on that first.

But, yesterday I took a little road trip from Procrastination to Distraction. Having spent the entire morning in Completion I felt no guilt about this. Especially since I was beckoned to move farther along the path of avoidance by the delicate warbling of a feathered friend.

Having accepted his invitation to the concert, I slipped out my back door and stealthily sought him out with my camera. He sat on a lower branch and was so into his own story, beak aloft, eyes closed, that I was able to get right under him to take his photo. Perhaps that was his plan all along.

I watched him for some time, his throat vibrating as he pontificated on the state of the weather and pesticides; lack of worms and suitable mates. On occasion his tone would change, becoming more conversational, understanding, softer. His passion was clear.

In order to reach a broader audience he would hop to the next higher branch, then the next higher tree.  Satisfied he had conveyed his feelings appropriately or dismayed his calls had gone into the ether unheard, he flew away.

I thanked him, hopped back into my mental convertible and headed back to Procrastination. A little sad to leave Distraction, the land of shiny things and birdsong, I lingered for just a moment to see if something else would catch my eye, extending my stay. Not today. My mission complete, I turned the old rag top around glancing back only once  at the sparkling raindrops on the honeysuckle. A mirage, I told myself as I pressed the accelerator in the direction of home.

Today’s writing prompt: Now? Later! prompted me to dust off an older blog, shine it up a bit and repurpose it for this challenge.

Now? Later? We all procrastinate. Website, magazine, knitting project, TV show, something else — what’s your favorite procrastination destination?

21 Day Challenge – Day 12 – Gratitude

birdy IMG_1892As I selected my cart at Whole Foods today I did not expect to find a passenger. I was making my way up and down the aisles when I noticed a little movement on the outside of the top basket. A lizard. He was moving a little slower in the cooler temperatures of the store but was able to make his way to the handlebar where he looked at me perplexed and asked to be taken outside. I obliged. As I exited with unpaid merchandise I walked about six feet toward a grassy area. Before I got there he jumped off. Warmed by the 90 degree November sunshine he was once again feeling frisky. I watched to be sure he made it to safety lest some unsuspecting human find him beneath their shoe. He made to the grass, he’ll have to take it from there.

It is in these moments that I find complete gratitude. The dragonfly landing on my dress. A squirrel frozen not 3 feet in front of me because we surprised each other. Deer wandering in my suburban neighborhood. A bird peeking down at me from the porch roof. The wind.

It is the first of November, the official month of gratitude.

I am grateful for all the people in my life. The fun ones, the encouraging ones, the humorous ones, the spiritual ones, the loving ones, the kind ones. And the mean ones, the rude ones, the whiny ones and the sarcastic ones.  The button pushers and naysayers. Oh I think I am most grateful for those last two.

The button pushers allow me to learn more about myself. Because it’s not them, it’s me. It’s my button. If I were to pay very close attention I could probably find the thread that connected the various pushers to the specific button. Once I identify the button I can work to eliminate it.  Another person cannot make me feel or act a certain way without my permission. If a person drives me crazy, I am the one behind the wheel. They are my teacher. And I have much to learn. And for that I am grateful.

The naysayers show me the holes in my theories, they show me their vulnerabilities which are merely mirrors of my own. If they believe I can’t do something it is most likely because they don’t believe they could. They need me to succeed so they can see the possibilities for themselves. I owe them my successes. And my gratitude.

Each person we encounter that we have any kind of reaction to, good or bad, is a mirror. The perceived negative reaction lets us know exactly what we need to work on. The perceived positive reaction shows us our magnificence in another. We cannot see in others that which we do not possess. If I walk by 100 people and don’t react to them, they have nothing to share with  me. But that one person that cuts me off in traffic when I am in a hurry has the lesson.

Once I was aware of this, life became considerably more interesting. It became impossible for me to blame others for anything, instead I had to own my reactions and what I believed to be my shortcomings . A confrontation or a reaction was now the gift. Or rather the gift was somewhere in it. If I missed it, it would be back.

Gratitude is a portal. Once stepped through the magic in the mundane is revealed. Colors become more vibrant.  The sound of people laughing overcomes the noise of those complaining. The one beautiful flower among the weeds comes into focus.

So on this first official day of Gratitude Season I say Thank You. To everyone. For everything.

[Photo: My bird friend that was perched on the roof line of my patio.]