Every now and then I have to republish an article because I am struggling with a particular topic. I know this is going to sound totally, childishly ridiculous but I have been very envious of what someone else has and I am reminding myself that the gifts I have are so much greater. My neighbor is literally gutting his house. It is only 12 years old. It is the same house as mine but he will have new floors, new bathrooms, a new kitchen, new baseboards, new paint, and new laundry room. This will cost a small fortune. Actually, they are worth a small fortune. They have no children. And I am feeling jealous for what they have and not thinking about what they don't have.
This past Sunday, I was blessed with a beautiful new grandson. My daughter and the new baby are doing great. I will have the opportunity to visit them within a few weeks. This is only one of the blessings I have and you would think I would not have to be reminded. But I'm human and sometimes have to focus on my blessings because it is important for me to feel them in my heart and soul. Sometimes saying the word “gratitude” or talking about being grateful comes way too easy and without thought. So, I remind myself by republishing this article on gratitude the way it should be felt.
I have a post-it on my computer at work with only one word, “gratitude”. The thing that sometimes bothers me is that it is there for me to see every single day and yet there are days I don’t see it at all. It actually becomes invisible. I only seem to see it when I need to see it and that was not the intent of putting it there in the first place. The intent was to notice it many times per day and acknowledge gratitude with a very quiet “thank you” or whatever I wanted to say to my Higher Power.
One of the important things I learned in the beginning of 12 Step Recovery was to be grateful. Well, actually I had to relearn how to be grateful because for so long it didn’t seem as there was much in my life for which to be grateful. The kinds of things I felt grateful for always seemed to follow one of those foxhole prayers that most addicts tend to do quite well. Being grateful for the fact that the cop didn’t stop you or that you found that bottle or pill you lost doesn’t exactly constitute the type of gratitude recovery suggests.
Gratitude isn’t always that easy. Gratitude means being grateful for the daily struggles of life, some of which can seem rather unbearable. I was told I didn’t have to mean it. All I had to do was pray it. It is easy to be grateful for gifts. The idea of being grateful for difficulties is that these are put before us so that we may learn and grow. Hopefully, the difficulties eventually either disappear completely or actually become gifts.
What I know about gratitude today is that because of a 12 Step Recovery program I was able to enjoy three of my grandchildren while my daughter was away. I felt more gratitude for my recovery and my Higher Power than I had in a while because I was in the midst of living in gratitude. I was living in that “now” that sometimes seems so elusive. And while I was in the middle of all of that gratitude I was confronted by a most difficult issue by another member of my immediate family. I had to remember how important gratitude was so that I could accept this new problem and know that it wasn’t about me. I had to remember gratitude so that I could accept this issue and work through it without anxiety and worry. If I do not accept this problem with gratitude, it could easily become something I want to try to control or worse yet, obsess over. I cannot afford to do either.
Gratitude toward everything that happens in my life is connected to the faith and trust I have in my Higher Power. A struggle today may be a gift tomorrow. Or maybe the struggle just hangs around for a long time until I can learn to accept it. I don’t know because I don’t have the plan for my life.
What are the things today that you are grateful for? Think about them, write them down, or share them with another. I’m a great procrastinator but I’m really going to try to practice this. My post-it is getting kind of ratty looking anyway.
Namaste’. May you walk your journey in peace and harmony!