Week 8, Day 4 – Gratitude

The choices for today were:

1.                  Take time at the end of the day to change your non-grateful thoughts to grateful thoughts. If you’re stuck thinking about someone else’s good fortune, try writing such things as “I can be quite lucky myself” or “Good things happen to me. Just last week . . . “then read over you list of grateful thoughts and do gazing in to the water to relax and let the more positive thoughts sink into your subconscious. Do some streaming to deepen these grateful thoughts. How are they really true? What do you need to let go of in order to more fully know this?

2.                  Write a list of nouns as fast as you can for three minutes. The list might look like this: tea, chalk, computer, flower, hospital, bird, mother, sister, aunt, bed, tree, sky, finger, glasses, bowl, rubber band, clip, pen, sun, shadow, clock. See what insights the nouns offer and be grateful for those. I can see mine are about the writing life and concern about my mom in the hospital. I might write about how writing enriches my life and gives me focus in times of worry. I might write how grateful I am to have a loving relationship with my mom, or gratitude for the healing we have done over the years between us. I might write about how grateful I was that her visit last month was a happy one. I might write about the miracle that we both lived long enough to grow and change.

3.                  Ask yourself. What would I do if I forgave? And write down the answer.

Writing a list of nouns for three minutes was harder then I thought. I found myself going room by room in compiling my list which included the following: Cat, Dog, Fish, Mother, Father, Sister, Brother,, Lover, Wife, Teacher, Writer, Spiritual Companion, Computer, Books, Shell, Bed, Desk, Kitchen, Food, Music, Glasses, Soda, Plants, Catnip, Treats, Schedule, Course, Paper, Printer, Keyboard, Mouse, Walker, Wheelchair, Bed, Cover, Pillow, Hamper, Toilet, Shower, Sink, Sofa, Futon, Loveseat, Desk, Bookcase, Lamps, Curtains, Table, Chairs, Refrigerator, Stove, Dishwasher, Cabinets, Towels, Toothbrush, Medication, Juice container, Pots, Pans, Blender, Toaster, Waffle iron, and Food processor.

As I look at this list, I realize how much I have to be grateful for. First and foremost, I am grateful for my wife. I tell her that all the time, but I truly am grateful for her. She has stood by me in thick and thin, good times and bad. She is the errand runner, snow blower, and laundry doer in our family now that I can no longer do steps or drives. Yes, I do my part as well. I am the cook, cleaner, and grocery shopper, but I am still grateful that she has stayed by me and never said well I didn’t sign up for this. When she said she loved me unconditionally, she meant it and for that, I am so grateful. She has loved me no matter how I wore my hair or if I had hair, how much I weighed, her love for me has never been about the external, but about the internal. She loves me, just as I am, with all my idiosyncrasies. How blessed can one woman be. Why do I love her – let me count the ways – well to start, she never tries to make me over. She never expects me to agree with her. I am not sure that she has any expectations of me, so like me, she is grateful for what I do and sometimes for what I do not do for her. For example, last night she told me she was grateful that I did not have a my way or the highway attitude about things. We laughed because she was giving thanks for me not doing something, which I thought was cool. And even though she HATES driving, and has tons of schoolwork to do this weekend, she stopped and snowblowed the driveway and went to get my medicationJ. I love that we both try to support each other unconditionally in our journeys.

And I am grateful for our home and all the things we have been blessed with. Our home like us is a work in process. It is what it is and it is becoming more and more us the longer we live here. We may not the fanciest or most elaborate of furnishings or decorations, but we are both grateful for everything we have. And we have both been very good at embracing a minimalist lifestyle and have gotten rid of those things which we are no longer using selling them on ebay, craigslist, and half.com. As they are no longer blessing us, perhaps they can be a blessing to others.

I am grateful for my relationship with my brother Mark, especially given what a rocky start we had growing up. I can remember a time when we had no relationship, so to be as close to him as I currently am is a blessing. I know that love changes things. I keep the door open for him to walk back through. There is nothing that he could have done that I cannot forgive and probably already have. I can’t speak for Mark, but I would just like to have my relationship with Jess and his family back.

I am grateful for the presence of Mr. Mittens and Wally in our lives. after having had to say good bye to all our babies, Ralph, Sam, Bo, Tig, Merl and Eve, our home seemed empty without any children to share our lives with and yes they are our kids. We love them with all their idiosyncrasies. Wally who is uber skiddish and Mr. Mittens who is the love machine. I have never known a cat who likes to play or lick people as much as he does. They are both in their own way bundles of love and fill our home with so much joy. I love Wally’s pigeon sounds he makes when he is playing and Mr. Mittens does his little flops and shows off his belly.

And I am so blessed to do what I do. I love writing. I used to write quite often, but could never picture myself doing it as often as I do now. Do I like writing for academia, not so much, but I can. But allow me to write about something I feel passionately about and I am in my zone. It just flows and I feel as if this is river of words is flowing out of me.

I feel the same way about teaching. It is crazy that I get to do three things in my life that I love and feel passionately about, writing, teaching, and spiritual direction. It took me a while to find my individualistic path, but I am home and there is this real sense of peace. Each feeding me and blessing me in a way that I could not imagine. I am not sure that I would feel as complete doing just one thing, but in harmony with each other, I feel blessed and my cup overflows.

And I am grateful for my walker and wheelchair and I am even grateful for LiftLine. I am not crazy about having to go through this appeal process, but I will continue to press on and even though it is not perfect, I am grateful for all those things that allow me to continue to be mobile and independent.

I could write forever about all the things I have to be grateful for, but that list would be never ending. So let me just say to the Creator – Thank you for all you have done, are doing, and will do in my life and through my life. Thank you for all you do for me. Thank you!