The Art of Guerilla Gratitude

As of the time of writing this post I’m happy to say, it’s been a good day. I have achieved a lot. Not only did I find a venue for this event I’m planning, the Checagou Beaux Arts Festival, I’ve secured some talent to perform at the event. I started a social media campaign, and started looking into sponsorship. On top of all that, I had a telephone interview, did some laundry, cleaned the house, organized my studio, and cooked. When I’m having a good day, I’m filled with energy and can take charge with no trouble at all.

When I’m having a bad day, I barely have the motivation to get up from the couch. I serial-watch TV and crave junk food, (have you ever watched so many re-runs you start to feel embarrassed? I have.) I get melancholy and cry at the drop of a hat. No matter what I DO accomplish that day, it never feels like enough. The guilt eats away at me like acid through rice paper. But one thing I’ve learned, is that when I’ve got the blues, to let the storm rage, then pass. And if I get stuck in a negative bubble, to burst that bubble with some “Guerilla gratitude.” It sounds cutesy, but I swear, it works for me, almost every time. What’s “Guerilla gratitude?” It’s radical self-love, gangsta-style. It’s a swift kick up the backside, which we all need sometimes, when we’re feeling sorry for ourselves. “Hello, Pity…party of one. Your table is ready. Thank you!”

“Guerilla Gratitude,” or G.G., is forcing myself to stand in front of the mirror and say all of the things that I like about myself. Even if it’s just my eyelashes, there’s always at least one thing I genuinely like about myself. Just kidding- I usually like a lot more than just my eyelashes! My eyebrows, for example…

G.G. is also cutting myself some slack, and reminding myself that I can only do my best, with the tools and resources I have, and that I can’t do everything in one day. And I make a gratitude list, to remember what’s going right in my life, instead of the opposite.

Reaching out for a virtual hug from a friend often helps me too, when I have the courage to do so. Often, when I’m in the thick of the fog, the demons in my head lie to me, and tell me that nobody wants to hear how I really feel. Sometimes it’s a struggle, but I always feel better after talking about what’s bothering me, and I appreciate those people in my life who are open and receptive, and who still love me, even when I don’t FEEL so lovable.

Sometimes I have to rely on that vivid imagination too, and allow myself to go to that ‘worst case scenario,’ if I’m grappling with a REALLY scary problem. Letting myself consider what could possibly go wrong actually helps me. Avoiding the fear doesn’t make it go away, after all. But the key is to not live there. That’s where a true friend is invaluable, because they’ll help me to see the view from the outside. They’ll give me a hand to help me out of the abyss.

And  then, once I’ve performed emergency surgery on my psyche, if I’m feeling really wild and crazy, I’ll retreat into my studio, spin some vinyl records and start painting, while having an impromptu karaoke session.

Without fail, by the time I’m into my third Duran Duran song and my second layer of paint, the worst of the fog has lifted. It’s not a magic fix for whatever problem got me down in the first place (I’m not suggesting this will work for non-situational depression; but if it does, great), but it does a world of good in helping me at least get over the wall. Once I do, I can usually find solutions to my problems more easily.

On days like today, it’s easy to feel real, down to my toes warm and fuzzy gratitude. But for those rainy days, it’s good to have tools like “Guerilla Gratitude” in my arsenal of weapons!

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