Tuesday, October 08, 2013

The Slow Down Challenge # 5: Gratefulness

I’m joining the Slow Down Challenge initiated by one of my favourite writers Jeff Goins. If you want to jump in, here’s how.

Today, try saying “thank you” — for everything.  Say it to your spouse who makes you wait for dinner. Say it to the cashier who moves too slow. Say it to your late lunch appointment or the call center operator who keeps putting you on hold. Say it to God for every inconvenience that causes you to grow. Say “thank you.” Don’t just think it or tell it to yourself. Actually speak the words — and mean them. Be grateful for the moments that slow you down, the ones that cause you to take your time. Use these opportunities to appreciate what you already have and tend to miss. As you do, see how much better life looks, and actually is, when you approach it with gratitude.

I’ve been literally on a slow-down mode for the past four months. I usually tell people I’m bumming around but I personally call it my gap months. In practice, people take a year off from school or work to volunteer, travel, or learn new skills. It’s not a popular practice in the Philippines, however and I can’t really afford a year off so I’m sticking with a few months.

It’s been a really good four months. Although I panicked after the first two months, I’ve learned to take it in stride. I owned my time now (except for the occasional household chores) so I had to make the wisest use of it. To date, I finished my travelogue series for my Vietnam-Cambodia backpacking trip, spoken at two news writing workshops at my alma mater, volunteered to take pictures of the school events my parents organized, started a photo blog, learned to cook omelette, cuddled my nephews and niece a lot, and I am about to finish the Slow Down Challenge. I still have a lot of things to do on my list so never for a second am I bored.

But what I’m really doing is waiting. Waiting for the next bus that will take me to my next destination. Jeff Goins, one of my favorite authors who also started the Slow Down Challenge, said that our big moments happen every now and then. But most of the time, we spend our lives waiting. And what do during this waiting period makes all the difference.  

The point of this last challenge is to say thank you to the people who have slowed you down. Since the gaps months was a personal decision and quite frankly, one of the best decisions I have ever made, I thanked HIM. My Creator. My Savior. For leading me to this path. For making me realize a lot of things. For making me breathe. For making me forgive. For making me let go of things I cannot anymore control. And for making me believe in HIM again. For everything. And I will always be grateful.

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