This morning, I took some time to sit by myself in a coffee shop, accompanied by a warm cup of cappuccino and Alice Hoffman’s The Story Sisters. I started the day early, wishing to get more work done. These past few weeks have been hectic with deadlines, and at times, I felt as if my brain was boiling.
Ubud’s sky was gray. The air felt fresh against my skin as I sat there, sipping my coffee in silence. I left Alice Hoffman on the side, and found myself appreciating my surroundings instead: the dogs barking, the birds chirping, the motorcycles passing, the trees around the Monkey Forests rustling–the sounds of the morning. And I noticed how wonderful it was: the feeling of warmth that crawled from the tip of my fingers that were cupping the coffee mug.
Suddenly, I was still.
I dropped everything in that fleeting moment: my to-do list, the emails I need to sent, the invoices that have not been paid, the calls I need to schedule, the sentences for a web copy…
For the time being, there was only me, a cup of coffee, and Ubud in the morning.
As the warmth of the coffee mug permeated my skin, a deep feeling of gratitude swept me off of my feet, and I could feel my muscles relax: I smiled. I truly felt grateful to be here: to be back in Ubud, to be able to enjoy a cup of coffee leisurely at 8 in the morning, to be surrounded by the people I love, even to have today’s deadlines and work ahead of me!
And of course, I was lucky.
Of course, I should be grateful.
However, since the first day I came back to Ubud, I hadn’t actually felt it. I had been buzzing around, meeting friends, snapping pictures, painting, attending events, going out, typing away on my laptop, but I hadn’t really felt the wave of gratitude for the simple things: for being able to be here.
I almost forgot how beautiful that magical feeling was: an instant wave of gratitude and appreciation towards life as it is. It was not one of those moments when you say gratitude as a ritual or part of a routine–or those moments when you said to yourself: okay, I need to be grateful. Or those times when something nice happened to you, and you were grateful for that.
I was referring to something spontaneous. A spontaneous rush of gratitude.
I wonder when was the last time I had this sudden rush of gratitude and appreciation, something so strong and so spontaneous, and at the same time: so fleeting. I could only go back to as close as a few years ago–when I was lying on my back by the beach in Sebayur Island in Flores.
The island was dark and the sky was full of stars.
So full I was almost sure that I could see the whole of the Milky Way.
This morning, the whole of the Milky Way was spinning inside my cup of coffee. And happily, I let myself spinning in it.