Gratitude: Late August 2018
This is one of those upside-down gratitudes – an exercise I try to undertake whenever I catch myself thinking how unhappy I am about something.
This week, it’s smoky. Really smoky. From wildfires – lots of them. Like most of the west, Washington State seems to be on fire this summer, especially after a spate of dry lightning started 20-some fires yesterday morning. Then later yesterday afternoon, a hay baler caught fire (rumor has it) and ignited 65,000 acres in a matter of hours – because of very dry fuels, gusty winds, and red flag conditions with high heat and low humidity.
Some of my very best friends are evacuated and the smoke is thick, really thick and choking at times. It’s hard to find anything to be grateful for, which makes this an ideal exercise in looking for gratitude. But if I think just a little, I know exactly what I’m profoundly grateful for:
The firefighters. Underpaid or not paid at all (those local volunteer fire department crews in every small town). Hardworking and brave. Determined and stalwart. Digging line and battling blazes in stifling-hot protective gear. Putting their lives on the line every day. This deserves gratitude, not just a little nod of the head but deep, sincere and profound gratefulness that these kinds of individuals exist on this planet….
And that brings to mind every single person whose life has been dedicated to serving and protecting. Our law enforcement, our military. Our First Responders. EMTs. Search and rescue. Nurses and ambulance drivers. And every one of us, who might find ourselves in a situation and step up, help another fellow creature, be a hero, however ordinary or simple. Here’s to our heroes, in every shape, size and form. Thank you with all my heart.
What I’m Reading: Emotional EQ. In Chapter 11, Jeb Blount reviews the common Cognitive Biases that we commonly encounter in ourselves. “Biases,” the author writes, “are the dark side of cognitive heuristics – the mental shortcuts that enable quick and efficient decision and judgements about people and situations.” One that I think is especially useful to be mindful of is this one:
- Fundamental Attribution Error – this is when you assume that another person’s behavior (showing up late) is part of their permanent character (lazy or always tardy) instead of circumstantial (bad traffic, flat tire.) This one is common in all kinds of relationships. The solution? Make a habit of making “generous assumptions” about people – if someone is rude, tell yourself maybe they just had to take their dog to the vet and found out it had terminal cancer. This is a SUPER handy way to reframe your attitude about someone in a very short time.
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What I’m Pondering: Since I needed to laugh a little today, too… how about this one….
“We can’t all be heroes because somebody has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by.” – Will Rogers