When Hope runs low, try Gratitude

When Hope runs low, try Gratitude.  

                  I’m going to make a confession. As a Rockaway Resident, I was feeling really down this week.

       The parks department meeting from last night was part of it. I am not going to highlight it here (check @rockawayhelp for excellent details) but some of the news wasn’t exactly encouraging. The two recent Breezy Point articles had something to do with my mood as well (Esquire and NYT). In an attempt at exposing racism, you turn your exposees* into a stereotype. I believe this is called hypocrisy.   I am not a statistic.  You don’t get to marginalize me with a label. The situation is still too messed up down there and the wounds a little too raw.

      So what do you do when you hit a wall, run out of steam so to speak? When you reach inside for those last reserves of strength, and find yourself tapped out?

      1) Embrace Gratitude. When I hit a low point I start doing gratitude exercises. I keep a journal, where before bed I write down 10 things I’m grateful for. My family. My friends. All the help I received from odd places during the darkest days of Sandy. The beach.

      2) Sign up for the gift giving challenge on www.29gifts.org.  If you do, for 29 days straight you will dedicate yourself to doing one nice thing for someon else.  It could be as simple a thing as a smile, or as complex as a day spent volunteering. Maybe you take the trash out at night when your spouse feels tired. Perhaps you clean your room to make your mother happy.  The trick here is to keep this up for 29 days. For a short while, make your life a little bit less about you.  After that time, I can guarantee that you will have your hope back, and you will have added more meaning and value to your life in the process.

      3) Check out www.doonenicething.com.  Every week they post a new idea about how you can help others.   From sending things to oversees troops to donating food, they change it up every week.

      Help out in the community.  There are still plenty of people and organizations that need volunteers.  Habitat for Humanity Westchester has put out a plea for help in Breezy point.  I will be volunteering with the rockaway free flea market this weekend myself.  There are plenty of opportunities out there.

Here’s the thing about “places”. At the basic level they occupy a space. But the best of them incorporate more that. The people, resources, characters, community, the hellos from strangers in the morning. Those are all part of a place. Rockaway is not just occupying a peninsula.   It has the best of all of these characteristics. There are days where achieving normalcy seems like an uphill battle. It’s challenging, it can be depressing, and we will all have moments where we are slipping up. But at the end of the day rockaway is our place and it is worth fighting for. So if you are out of gas on the inside, try looking out for some inspiration.

I’ll let you know how it works out for me!

*I made up this word but both like it, and find it fitting.

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