The Thing About Gratitude

It’s been a while since I spent some serious time in the studio (school holidays will do that to you) and I have begun to feel a feint yet familiar feeling of discontentment and I am wondering whether this is due to the lack of Art making. It could be the result however, of having my children up in my grill every hour of everyday for 7 days! 

I have learnt in my journey through depression some years ago that at the heart of it was discontentment. A feeling that things should be different to how they presently are. Underneath discontentment is the absence of gratitude.

So this week while I look at endless photos on social media of others on their exotic and event filled holidays and feel a pang of jealousy as I paint yet another garden fence, I remember how lucky I am to have a garden filled with beautiful plants, every one planted and nurtured with my own hands. I feel gratitude that I got to paint the garden fences with my girls along side me.

As I feel guilt that I have not taken my children to one single park, attraction, exhibition or event this week I remember that we have enjoyed every lunch and dinner sat at the kitchen table and giggled about something that will be forgotten by tomorrow.

I feel regret and anger that I have not spent more time in the studio but then I realise this has given me time to reflect on my work and what my priorities will be in the future.

As I feel slight shame that my children have played Roblox for hours every day I replace that shame with gratitude for the unscheduled relaxed and slow week that we have had.

Fostering gratitude is not always easy and has taken a little more effort than usual this week, but I know that gratitude is the only path to joy, and so onward I go, practicing this habit of gratitude until it becomes just that. Habit.