Sparkling Isolation – Day 38

The dog that doesn’t bark.

While checking my email this morning, I ran across my daily email from the website Happify.com. If you don’t know that site, it’s well worth a visit. I have been a member of the site now for over five years and I credit the exercises, games, questions, and resources on that site as some of the major tools that have transformed my nasty negativity bias into something far more manageable.

This morning, while watching a video I saw a suggested video pop up on the sidebar. It looked intriguing so I decided to click on the link. It’s a brief video by Gretchen Rubin, author of several books including “The Happiness Project.”

Remember the dog that doesn’t bark.

That set me thinking about gratitude. I have kept a daily gratitude practice every day since January 1, 2012. Each morning I get centered and focused and then write out five things I am grateful for that day. I then post that to Facebook – both as a way to keep myself motivated and to hopefully inspire others to think about gratitude in their lives.

What occurred to me today, after watching Gretchen Rubin’s video, was that I rarely focus on the type of gratitude she discusses – the concept of noticing what did not happen rather than solely focusing on what did.

This isn’t a life-changing epiphany, but it does help me refocus a bit into those areas of my life that I may ignore because they aren’t the “squeaky wheel.” It’s simple to express gratitude for big, obvious things that are right there in your face screaming, “Notice me!” It is more difficult to search into the silence, into the void, into the spaces that rarely get noticed.

Although this is not precisely what she meant, I find myself taking her inspiration and thinking about the things that did not happen to me today for which I wish to express gratitude. For instance, I went to pick up food and did not have an accident. I did not get a speeding ticket. I did not have a negative experience with other drivers. I did not run out of gas. I did not have mechanical trouble with my car. I did not have any trouble finding parking.

These are all little things, even inconsequential in the larger scheme of life. But I think I so often overlook these small, simple, mundane things. I remember the accidents, the speeding tickets, the cruddy drivers, the pain of looking for parking, the fear of seeing the ‘check engine’ light come on. Those are all so persistent in the memory but they are all one-time things – things that may happen once in a blue moon. The other things – those positive things – happen nearly every time I drive. 90% of the time there are no issues. Yet it’s the 10% that I tend to remember.

So often I overlook all the little moments of ease which move through my life. I did not go hungry today. I did not get sick. I did not struggle with depression. I did not experience emotional pain. I did not suffer. So many things that are good in my life despite the bizarre world situation.

For today, I want to spend some time thinking about the dog that did not bark – and be grateful for that silence.

It’s only Quarantine if it comes from the Quarante province of France. Otherwise, it’s just Sparkling Isolation.