Gratitude never hurt anybody

I first practiced yoga back in 2013. I was in the midst of my first attempt at quitting smoking. It appealed to me because it involved not just physical strengthening but mental conditioning too. Yoga means I get to exercise and meditate at the same time. I suffer not just from unhealthy habits but from serious anxiety too. Back then I thought I was the only one. Little did I know it was as common as Covid. Too crass? Sue me Covid never leaves my mind.

My sister introduced me to P90x Yoga and it has been my go-to exercise since then. Although I’m not a regular yogi, like I’ve never practiced yoga for a loong, consecutive amount of time, I have had spells of regular practice. Even though I stop and start frequently, I will always find my way back to my mat. Always a beginner, always from a humble position. I was never interested in doing a headstand to show off. What I loved was the philosophy of it, how it’s all about listening to your body, improving your breath, exercising the ability to lean into the discomfort, and cultivating the art of mindfulness. I believe in those things.

Recently, after seven years or so of on and off practice, I have decided to take it even slower and more methodical this time. I wanted to create my own practice and rituals, studying each pose and perfecting them in a slow and steady manner. I wanted to ease into yoga on my own, more deliberate this time. My intention is to practice one yoga step at a time, familiarize it and perfect it in my own time. I don’t do yoga primarily for fitness but more like a personal religion. And after each mat session, I sit and meditate. I learn to bow down to my wandering thoughts and simply let them be.

All this deliberate activities has made me more aware of things to be thankful for. I’m usually a half glass empty kind of person, often taking pride in never being happy. But now I think it’s even more important to take notice of the things that we should be thankful for. It’s a great antidote for these uncertain, unstable times.

I’m thankful for good health, as basic as that sounds. Where would we be without our health (especially these days). The fact that I can get up, breath, and go to work is one of the biggest blessings I could ever ask for. I always tell those close to me that health is the beginning of it all. What will happen to our dreams, the money we’ve worked so hard for, the material things we accumulate if we don’t have the physical health to enjoy and continue working for these things.

I’m thankful for family and friends and love.

I’m thankful for the instant tomatoes in our backyard. We recently moved apartments and we discovered that there’s a healthy little tomato vine at the bottom of the big tree in our yard. Each new fruit is a sight to behold. It’s amazing to witness the start and end of fruitbearing, not to mention the satisfaction of harvesting fresh fruits right within your home.

I’m thankful for cookbooks. They are single handedly keeping me inspired this quarantine time. From the beautiful photos to the surprise delicious recipes I get to make from them, it’s been a blessing to pore through each page. I love getting to know the stories and background of these cookbook authors, it’s the closest thing I have to travel these days. Next time I’ll share some of my favorite cookbooks thus far.

I’m thankful for Elmo and his smelly ears and puppy eyes and sweet sweet demeanor. He keeps us soft and compassionate.

I’m thankful for my work, even if it’s more a job than a career. It puts food on my table and it doesn’t drive me crazy. No one micromanages me, I work in my own time, my bosses are very nice people, and there’s no need to kiss anyone’s ass nor bend backward and forwards to make some client happy.

I’m thankful for Jed for always choosing me, us.

I’m thankful for hobbies and the time to do them. It’s been my pleasure to indulge in things that are enjoyable – photography, cooking, this blog, food styling, reading, and gardening. The days are long but I am incredibly grateful each time I get to do the things I love the most.

I’m thankful for the Headspace app. It’s just a great way to learn and practice meditation. It has enough variety for every possible mental health need. One of my best purchase of 2020.

I’m thankful for entertaining TV shows like Invincible. Like a good book, sometimes it feels great to get lost in a world other than my own. Sometimes. Also it’s really just a fun animated show!

I’m thankful for the Grab drivers who work very hard to deliver the big and small things we order online, all day, every day. What would we do without them? Seriously.

I’m thankful for sunny days ahead, even it’s hot and sticky, the sun offers a glimmer of hope and good things. My basil and oregano are thick and bushy because the sun is always out. The patches of morning light that comes through our living room signals a fresh start. The afternoon light and its shadows inspire creativity and good memories. Light is good even when it’s too much.

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