Gratitude for bird poop!

As mentioned in my first post – it is so important to find something to be grateful for in every experience. However, it is not always easy to do this!

Last Saturday, I drove to the store to pick up two bunches of flowers. One for a very good friend who is recovering from pneumonia, and the other as a hostess gift for a summer party we were to attend that evening. I also wanted to pick up a replacement bottle of wine to return to our dear friend and neighbour, who so generously saved us on Friday by loaning us a chilled bottle of white to attend a potluck and bocce game at another friends’ home. My husband, Ron, had been running late and we didn’t have time to stop for wine – so the loan was timely and very much appreciated.

I parked our car in the parking lot of the grocery and liquor stores, noting to myself what another beautiful warm, sunny day we’re having. I ran into these stores to pick up three items, and returned to the car – less than 15 minutes later, only to find not one – but three large and disgusting splats of bird poop on the car! Two on the windshield and one huge one on the driver’s side window.

For an instant, I was furious. Then, I thought, ho-lee – isn’t this supposed to be lucky?

I arrive home with goods in hand, place the flowers in a vase of water then I Google it:

Bird poop brings good luck! There is a belief that if a bird poops on you, your car, or your property, you may receive good luck and riches. The more birds involved, the richer you’ll be! So next time a bird poops on you, remember that it’s a good thing.

I’m thinking 3 poops = 3 birds (I’m an optimist) = lots of good luck! Perhaps a lifetime or at least 3 months!

I relate the story to Ron, who laughs heartily (he doesn’t believe in old wives’ tales) but immediately offers to clean the poop off the windows. Now that is good luck!

While driving to my friend’s house with flowers in hand, Ron ponders the question “I wonder how long the statute of limitations is on bird poop?”

I have so many things to be grateful for in this situation:

  • I have an abundance of friends who care for me and I care for them.
  • I have more social events than I can keep track of as the summer nears an end.
  • I have a car for the bird to poop on – rather than pooping on me!
  • Good luck has bestowed me for hopefully a lifetime – but at least long enough to have Ron lovingly clean the poop off the car windows!

The Importance of Self-Care

Written by Anita Manley

I wouldn’t be where I am today – living a life in recovery from a severe and persistent mental illness – if I did not choose to take action for my own good, every day.

Self-care is meant to restore your energy and to make you the best version of yourself. It is so important to take at least half an hour every single day to do something good for yourself – to add fuel to your fire.

There are many forms of self-care and it is imperative that you opt for something that you love doing.

Here are Forty Favorites of mine to help inspire you to refuel daily:

  1. Say no and be OK with it. Setting clear boundaries is healthy and essential.
  2. Unplug! Technology has us frazzled – unplug for an hour daily – especially before bedtime.
  3. Enjoy a cup of tea.
  4. Read a book, or peruse a used book store or library.
  5. Go to the movies/a play/a musical.
  6. Knit or do other crafts (scrap-booking/ crochet/ sewing etc.)
  7. Journal. Get your thoughts down on paper to free your mind.
  8. Garden. I live in an apartment, but I have a lovely balcony garden which includes fresh herbs and tomatoes.
  9. Give yourself a manicure/pedicure.
  10. Take a beautiful photograph.
  11. Exercise. In addition to walking 10,000 steps per day, my doctor says 30 mins x 5 times per week. Get heart rate up to 120. I’m trying!
  12. Go for a nature walk/ bird watch/ feed the birds.
  13. Take a refreshing bath/ shower.
  14. Prepare and eat a healthy meal while listening to relaxing music.
  15. Play an instrument.
  16. Sing!
  17. Dance!
  18. Write a letter to an elderly relative… or anyone.
  19. Go to the hairdresser.
  20. Go shopping.
  21. Do a crossword/ Sudoku/ puzzle.
  22. Have a nap.
  23. Chat with a friend.
  24. Reassess you friendships. Purge toxic relationships.
  25. Do a good deed every day! It makes you feel good too.
  26. Spend time with your pet or pet a cat/ dog while out on a walk.
  27. Practice daily meditation.
  28. Listen to your favorite music.
  29. Donate things you no longer need/ use.
  30. Declutter/ tidy up.
  31. Hydrate – drink lots of water.
  32. Write daily gratitudes.
  33. Practice positive self-talk.
  34. Laugh with gusto and often!
  35. Spend time with your children/ grandchildren/ nieces/ nephews and get to know them well.
  36. Take a ride on a bus and get off and explore new areas of town.
  37. Go to a museum or art gallery.
  38. Go for a bike ride and pack a picnic.
  39. Kayak, canoe, swim, go to the beach.
  40. Cuddle on the couch with your loved one(s).

There are so many other nourishing things you can do – this is just a start to help you feel inspired to make daily self-care a priority in your life every single day.

Give it a try! Start making self-care a priority! You’ll be glad you did.

Practicing an Attitude of Gratitude

Just over a decade ago – due to mental illness – I lost everything that I held close to my heart: communication with my two teen aged daughters, my entire family, all of my friends, I lost my job, my cat, my housing and eventually all of my possessions, including my car. Some would say that it was as if aliens came in and took over my identity as well.

Prior to losing everything, as things were beginning to unravel, a good friend of mine advised me to write a gratitude journal – “list 3 things you are grateful for, every night before going to bed.” WOW! What a challenge, I thought. I could only write about one thing per day. I had a cup of tea, I entered into my journal. I had a long, hot bath, the next night. At that time, my two daughters were living with their Dad full-time and I could only see them while in the presence of a social worker with the Children’s Aid Society – once a week, for a couple of hours. I missed them terribly and I felt lost being unable to fulfill my Mom role. I was sad, angry and very lonely – dwelling upon my losses.

However, starting this practice of a gratitude journal set me up with a resiliency and positive frame of mind that has served me well ever since.

While living in a women’s shelter, I was tremendously grateful to have a roof above my head, thankful for the amazing meals they served every day, the fashionable clothes I received, the bed I laid in, the sewing machine to alter second hand clothes, the brand new shoes I was given, and the list goes on. While living in my car, I was grateful for my car! I appreciated The Well for providing me with a place to watch TV, shower and sleep during the day and for other women to socialize with.

I realized that no matter how much I was struggling, there was always someone else who was struggling even more. There was always something to be grateful for. And if you think of all of the little things, you will find that indeed there are always many things to be grateful for.

I still to this day practice and attitude of gratitude and I credit this practice for my happiness and feelings of abundance despite my many losses. By recognizing the numerous things we do have in life and not focusing on our setbacks or losses, we can feel more satisfied, fulfilled and happier!

Even among the greatest difficulties in life – you can always find things for which you are truly grateful.

Try it! Start writing a gratitude journal before going to bed – Jot down 3 different entries every night. It will grow on you!

Feeling extremely grateful for this gorgeous view that I have enjoyed for the past 7.5 years!