Yesterday I left my house in the pouring rain to get my hair cut. I felt very grouchy.
My rain coat has been missing for a month. My husband called and told me that we were turned down again for home owners insurance. We had 3 claims in 5 years and our insurance company was dropping us. He also told me that I had an accident on my record that was making my car insurance much higher than anyone else in the family. An accident? I didn’t have an accident. Then I remembered Christmas Eve 3 years ago. I hit a car in the grocery store parking lot as I was backing out. Just a scratch, but to be sure, I gave the woman my insurance information. Apparently, she reported it to her insurance company but a claim was never made. Still, this is on my record as an accident, causing me to pay more. Another insurance company said they would insure us, but for twice the amount we are currently paying.
As I drove 30 minutes to the sweet little town where I get my hair cut, I got more and more angry. How unfair! I never even had a “real” accident and yet I was paying like I did. And the problems with our house were not our fault. I was mad we would have to pay more for home owners insurance and mad at that woman who turned in my name for no reason when I made a tiny scratch on her car. Mad that I was a good citizen by giving her my insurance information and for what? Then, because I was spiraling down in madness and feeling sorry for myself, I added more to my list of reasons to feel bad. I felt furious that my jeans were too tight. I am mostly vegan, drink green juice nearly every day, and avoid sugar, wheat and processed foods. I exercise, not intensely, but I do exercise. Why the hell can’t I get to the weight I want and stay there? Angry. Angry. Angry.
I pulled up in front of the salon. (I should mention here that I absolutely adore my hair stylist. She is a true artist with a gift of spreading love and beauty. A sweet sight for my angry eyes.) She asks me, “What’s new with you?” Pause. To tell her would only be complaining, but I tell her anyway. Grouch.
Color on my hair, she gives me a magazine while my hair processes.
And I sit.
I realize that in my angry state I have a complete and utter lack of gratitude. I thought about Hailey and Toni and Amy who have all made gratitude a central part of their lives and how much I believe in living with a grateful heart.
What would this all look like if I were grateful?
Suddenly I was flooded with thoughts of all that was wonderful about the situation.
How amazing that we had homeowners insurance in 2007 that fixed the ice dam that left cold water gushing down the wall and into our home in the middle of a snowy winter. How wonderful that we had insurance in 2009 when we had a literal shit-storm in our basement when the sewer backed up and swamped the entire basement floor. (I am still traumatized by that.) But it was cleared out and cleaned up in one day by a team of 4 beautiful people in hazmat suits serving the world in such an incredible way. We were never harmed, it was covered financially, and there is no trace of the mess today.
I was flooded with gratitude.
Thank goodness my only car accidents have been in parking lots. [Except for one time when I hit (crushed) my sister’s (brand new) car in my own driveway backing up- but that’s another story.] How wonderful that I have never had a serious accident on the road! I thought of the woman I saw on the Today Show that morning at the gym who had to learn to walk again after suffering a horrific car accident that landed her in a coma with a broken spine. I thought about how filled with gratitude she was for her life and how I had tears running down my face on the elliptical as I watched her live with such courage and thankfulness. Wow, how awesome that my accident was in a parking lot and no one was hurt! Suddenly, paying a little more money in car insurance seems like a gift in itself.
By this time there were tears in my eyes.
I thought about my body. My amazing and healthy body. I thought about how fortunate I am to live with such abundance that I have a choice of what I want to feed myself every day. I thought about how blessed I am that my husband makes us green smoothies in our incredible high speed blender, that we buy organic as much as possible, that we have the knowledge and understanding of healthy eating and that we are able to live and feast as we wish. My friend’s step-mother is gravely ill. She has smoked and drank her entire adult life. My friend loves her step-mother dearly and is heartbroken. How fortunate I am that I do not struggle with addictions to drugs, food, cigarettes, or alcohol. I am so very blessed.
I read recently that if everyone put all of their problems in a pile up for grabs we would all end up taking our own problems back.
Today, at the salon, everything I thought was a problem turned out to be a reason to be deeply grateful.
I learned down to my very core, that reasons to be grateful truly are every where. Even when hidden as problems or annoyances or inconveniences.
Maybe even especially then.