By Damola Morenikeji
It’s 6pm and I had just hugged my new friend, Fritz, as he left for an appointment. The hug was warm and humane. It warmed my heart and prepared me for the night. We had just talked about how we may improve the learning experience and culture of an international organization we shared mutual bonds with, ingraining in it the culture of reflection.
Ten minutes before then, he was a stranger, standing beside me, by the window, as we both set our gazes outside. The hazy movement of people outside amused me – they were all rushing to the same destination, to catch a glimpse of the star performer from the city of Munich; a performance I also liked. I’m grateful for the time – as it slowed down for me to savour the moment. It seemed like I had all eternity; I lost all sense of urgency – I wished what I felt for everyone else.
I took a deep breath, and grateful it didn’t kill me. What we call a “deep breath” was me inhaling about 26 thousand billion molecules of gas (mostly nitrogen and oxygen). You see, if I was born some thousands of years ago, this same deep breath might have (almost) killed me – or maybe the sulphur and carbondioxide.
Earlier today, I had sung along to Fia’s Waterfall of Wisdom and Bongos Ikwue’s Cockcrow at dawn. It’s easy to think all music does is to entertain, but these feed my soul. I’m grateful for the words, the intentionality and depth invested in making every string of the sound and each bit of the words. Those words blended with the environment that I didn’t attach any negative energy to the gridlock I had been in, and the ‘battle for the road’ being fought by other vehicles.
After listening for a while, I stopped the song, reclined the seat, closed my eyes and did nothing. Nothingness is a gift, a precious one. I admire and I am grateful for the gift of stillness. The traffic may be there for another half-hour, and I can invest that time in giving myself one of the most important gifts mankind had ever known – being still, doing nothing.
I had started the day with the morning routine I have been following for some months; I wake, meditate, do about 20 squats and/or 10 pushups, take my bath while taking in the sound of the water and allowing myself to feel it’s touch as it envelops my body, drink a glass of water and fill up my gratitude journal. This routine – especially the gratitude journaling – is a gift to myself. It is my way of being conscious of what I am grateful for. Gratitude is a gift I share with myself; appreciation is a gift I share with others. Matt Mochary had suggested that the content is mostly the same; I agree with him.
I’m grateful for sound sleep, for my bowels that decided to get a break yesterday and is moving as I type this (it seem to have made a commitment to keep me comfortable even when it is “on fire”), for the peace a friend is currently experiencing even though he just lost a loved one. I am grateful for the gift of friendship from friends as we serve one another with honesty, and truth and love and trust and candor.
Some of the mails I read today, the calls I’ve received today, the laughs I had shared and the bond strengthened with those I love are things I can’t quantify. It’s the little things that count; the roasted yam and homemade sandwich Ado brought to work, the giggles and memories Vivian shared today, the consciousness and joy at which my siblings are laughing, and the pleasure of watching my friend search for where to order ‘Jenga’ online.
As I lay down on my bed, typing these words, I am thankful for life – for the gift of being able to watch myself breath, of noticing the sour taste of this orange juice and listen to the rhythm made by the drops of water singing from the tap nearby.
For the light that I see, and that I am, I am grateful.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Damola Morenikeji is COO at Joy inc. (https://joyinc.xyz/), a benefit corporation equipping young Africans with happiness and resilience skills and building a new generation of happier, flourishing young Africans. He is an avid believer in gratitude journaling and an amazing person in general. He sometimes blogs on http://www.damolamorenikeji.com