Today, I’m bringing you into what very well may be a realm of discomfort for you.
What I’m asking may mean you have to shift your perspective. Part of this is just as uncomfortable and as much of a stretch for me to accept as it may be for you, so before you even hear what I’m asking, I want you to know that I feel you. I acknowledge you having to swallow harder, your thoughts to race a little faster as you narrow your eyes, half-grimacing at me with skepticism and a touch of fear of the unknown. I know the feeling of having to choose the ‘harder’ path, to give your deeply engrained beliefs and your fist-bearing ego a run for its money. But life is pretty short to stay stuck in our patterns, so…
Are you with me?
First, Weather (again, the local fave topic!). Today is beautiful, right? Spring-like, sunny, blue skies, birds chirping, above 0 degrees (hallelujah!)… It’s hard to be grumpy when the sun’s shining, isn’t it? It’s easy to feel all is well on a day like this one…
On the same token, it’s a day edging ever-so-closely to the end of a month where we are all poring over receipts, spreadsheets and slips of paper that sum up the last year in our financial lives.
Yup, Tax Time.
Last night, we did our due diligence of trading time frolicking in the evening sunshine for sticking our butts in a chair and gettin’r done.
It feels good to be finished, with all the I’s dotted and T’s crossed. What doesn’t feel pleasant, however, is having that bomb dropped:
“Looks like you’re going to owe this year.”
It’s cause for celebration if we get a refund, but if we owe? It’s astounding how fast this can kill your mojo, overpower you with panic and fear, or make your heart feel as though it will stop altogether..
It was seconds into that sinking feeling of ‘Crap…well, there go some of my hard-earned dollars!’ where I caught myself.
How is my feeling defeated, ‘victimized,’ and seeing this from the standpoint of ‘lack’ going to change anything, make me feel ANY better, or furthermore, make my financial reality ANY brighter?
As I gave my not-so-mathematically inclined brain a break from numbers and receipts, I saw that the Weather page on my phone was showing ‘snowflakes’ for later on this week. Now, I don’t know about you, but I have long accepted that the weather is something I have ZERO control over. Despite my attempts to be as glass-half-full as possible on this subject, it doesn’t seem to stop anyone in our fair city from cursing Mother Nature like she was doing this to us on purpose.
I hate to break it to you, but it’s tax time, AND it may snow/[insert any other unpleasant weather phenomenon geographically appropriate to where you live] this week. Just FYI.
And therein lies my challenge.
It would be EASY to turn to your collective Facebooks, Twitters, friends, loved ones, pets, houseplants, the gods, or whatever you choose to vent or curse to, and say “F*** taxes. F*** snow in April. F*** my life.”
(For added emphasis, you could also add a single “F***” at the end of the previous rant. Some people really like that.)
Sure, F-bombs feel awesome to say sometimes, but here’s something HARDER:
Can you be grateful (yes, I said grateful) for taxes? Can you be grateful for blizzards (and I don’t mean the Dairy Queen kind) in April? I mean, ACTUALLY grateful. Not just glossing it over in an attempt to be Suzie Sunshine about it, but REALLY TRULY grateful? As in gratitude that comes from ALL of your HEART, even if it feels a bit outside of your norm?
So, who’s with me? If you’re still reading, yahoo, because that might just mean you’ll join me in doing the unthinkable: I am unabashedly choosing GRATITUDE.
I choose to feel grateful that I have had ONE WHOLE YEAR of being gainfully employed, and of learning and growing in the process. Even more to the point, the portion of income I owe tax on is one where I have spent time doing work that not only fills my cup but is, I feel, the highest form of service I have to offer.
I have the luxury of paying taxes because I am working towards my own wild and crazy dream, no matter what that may look like. And after I pay those taxes, what do I do? I live in a house, where I woke up in a bed, with someone I love that I married out of my own free will (and who is currently eating toast that I can smell wafting up from our kitchen. Yes, even when I have to pay taxes, I will still eat, and so will he). And even if things got really sticky, I would still have people in my life who would catch me if I fell. That, in itself, is its own form of wealth.
And if/when those snowflakes start to fall as this week ends, I promise not to wish they were green grass and lilacs and see them for what they are. They’re snowflakes — they are both beautiful and the epitome of impermanence, and they WILL make the grass greener in their own time. We live in the Northern Hemisphere. Snow and cold WILL happen here.
Even in a freak Spring snow storm, I will see, above all things, that we live in a country with more space than we can handle, with human rights and freedoms, where I can walk outside and share a smile and a simple hello with our neighbours. I say these things not to brag or boast, but because this is most of our realities. If you are reading these words, it means you own a piece of technology, and no matter how essential our smart phones, computers and tablets have become, your smart phone is no substitute for a winter coat. For many of us, we see those snowflakes on the bright screens of our weather pages from the comfort of our homes, with either food in our bellies or a knowledge of where our next meal will come from. Others will only know a cold front is settling in when they see the snowflakes start to swirl around their shivering bodies as they huddle under an overpass.
So… can you do it? Can you thank your lucky stars that you have taxes to do/pay, and that there may soon be Spring snowflakes to catch on the end of your tongue? Can you be deep-down-from-the-centre-of-your-heart grateful that the way you feel and react to these upsets are just another indicator of your humanity? Can you recognize them as a reminder that you are still being treated to the gift of being ALIVE? Can you see that these things are fleeting, and may offer their own form of blessing, even if, at first, they don’t appear to hold one?
When clouds cover the sun, and the wind starts to blow, and even that refund cheque has slowly dissolved into the ether…can you still be grateful?
Can you? Will you?