"In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy." Brother David Steindl-Rast

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Today is Some Day

Today I am grateful for a nice dinner with just Darcy last evening and for the opportunities Sam is experiencing on a school trip.

Some day. Those are two sad words if you think about it. Some day I will take that trip, write that book, change the world.

It is a problem of expectations. They are too lofty in my examples above. We set ourselves up to put things off.

When I bring my expectations back down to earth, some day is here and now. I can walk in our neighborhood, compose this post, change my own attitude and outlook. And in each of those things, I throw some positive energy out in to the world around me.

Grenville Kleisor captured the idea in this quote:

"There are many fine things which you mean to do some day, under what you think will be more favorable circumstances. But the only time that is yours is the present."  

Practicing gratitude automatically creates favorable circumstances. It also redefines fine things. My cup of coffee, a favorite song, and the coming daylight all become very fine indeed. 

The only time that is ours is the present. Am I in it? Are you in it? 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Harmony

Today I am grateful for all of my siblings-seven sisters and five brothers.  I am also grateful for
words like harmony.

Speaking of siblings, a birthday wish today for my oldest brother Linus!

A recovery friend used harmony the other day in a conversation and I have been carrying it around in my head since. It is a far better word than some I have carried around in my head before.

Harmony. Peace. Internal calm. Sounds good to me. Do I recognize it when I see it or feel it?  More than I used to. I have traveled far from the internal discord I lived in for years. I prefer the current view. And that positive view is best seen by pausing in this moment.

Another definition I came across for harmony was "a pleasing combination." Pizza and ice cream.
My husband Darcy and I and a good movie. Early morning quiet and time to write. Recovery and running. Coffee and coffeecake. Friends and laughter. Colleagues and mutual respect. My son Sam and I and a game of catch.

My life is rich with pleasing combinations and an adequate supply of harmony. I think I will keep carrying the word harmony in my head so I can better feel it in my heart and soul.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Undergirded

Today I am grateful for collaboration with colleagues and for our daughter-in-law Alyssa.

Happy Birthday Alyssa!

I was walking in my community's downtown riverfront area the other day thinking random thoughts. I was in a peaceful place and the word that came through was undergirded.

I was compelled to take a picture of the undergirdings of our bridge, over which thousands of vehicles travel each day.


The tan pillar in the lower right is a portion of one of the piers of the previous bridge, which was in use for over 60 years. It is now part of an overlook. 

I drive over this bridge often, but rarely do I think about the structural support provided 
beneath the roadway. 

Today, in my own life, I will strive to appreciate that which undergirds and fortifies my existence. There is a foundation of faith and the love of others. There is recovery and wellness. There is gratitude practice. In all these and more, I find strength and energy to proceed. 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Liberation

Today I am grateful for new bikes and a nice bike ride on a sunny afternoon. I am also grateful to share humor within the walls of my family's home.

Being green with gratitude yesterday brought thoughts of the often heard "green with envy" phrase. We are all prone to envy at times. It's a normal human emotion. But if it grabs hold and starts consuming us, it is detrimental and defeating.

We will never have all that we want, but most of us have what we need and much more. Beginning each day with gratefulness and trying to carry that throughout my day helps me realize I have enough and gifts far beyond. The words below from Edward Hays ring true:

"Giving thanks constantly and in all circumstances liberates us from envy."

Don't let constantly scare you. It is more about developing a mindset where we see what we do have. When we choose to focus on what we don't have, our jealousy is fed.  A grateful mindset helps us avoid the trap of comparing our insides to other people's outsides.

We may falsely believe bigger and better material goods would help us feel happier. The more energy we give to chasing these things, the more bound we are by that, and the less freedom we will know. The freedom of appreciating that in this moment there is peace and contentment, working senses, a roof over my head, people who love me, and so much more, that is true liberation. It is also pure joy.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Green with Gratitude

Today I am grateful for an afternoon nap yesterday after a busy morning of running and cleaning. I am also grateful for my first FaceTime chat-with my sister Danita.

It's not so much that I am green with gratitude, but more that all the green is making me grateful. We didn't have a lot of snow this winter, and we had extended times of gray and brown. We were teased with some early warm weather and then it got cold again, slowing down the return of green.

Rain, some warmth in recent weeks, and some good old patience have brought out the green grass and lawn mowers, filled the trees with leaves and blossoms, and has flower beds bursting with fresh
greenery. It is so welcome to the eyes and the heart after all that gray and brown. I appreciate that my eyes can see those colors.

Green has always been a favorite color of mine, mostly for the reasons above. It has always symbo-lized growth to me, personal and plant growth. Green is about new life and that energizes me and brings hope.  

Green, growth, and gratitude all go hand in hand. Acknowledging the green that makes me grateful allows me to continue to grow more spiritually fit and more receptive to my own personal growth.

See the green that abounds today, this first day of May. Feel the growth that is possible in each of us as much as it is possible in that plant or tree or blade of grass.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

A Theme Emerged, Then Was Replaced

Today I am grateful for a relaxing backyard fire last evening and the opportunity to play a little catch with a football in that same backyard with my son Sam.

The quiet from Thursday's commute home was replaced by loud music, sunshine, and windows down (at least partially) on my Friday afternoon commute. As I listened to the random songs coming along, as I flipped through satellite radio channels, a theme emerged.

It was a fitting theme for a Friday afternoon in ways. Already Gone by the Eagles. In God's Country by U2. Dizzy by Tommy Roe. The former drinker in me briefly fell back to the mindset I had on many Friday evenings in my drinking days.

To be already gone was my goal. "Pure brewed in God's country" was the slogan for the Old Style we drank because it was cheap and available. And dizzy bedspins would develop on some nights (more like early morning) when I tried to lay down.

The visit back in time was brief, then appropriately replaced by a grateful mindset. I recalled the best line ever from a song-"So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains and we never even know we have the key"-from Already Gone. And gave thanks that I now know the key is in my possession, easily accessed when my eyes and heart are open.

I recalled the uncomfortable bedspins, dizziness, and rough hangovers I was afflicted with-thanks to too much Old Style, pure brewed or not- and didn't miss them one bit. Recovery and sobriety take me to far better places than alcohol ever did.

One of the last songs on my commute was Carly Simon's Anticipation. "These are the good old days" indeed. This day, this moment. Make the most of it.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Quieting . . . Counting . . . Sweating

Today I am grateful for the birds singing and the clouds clearing after a few dreary, chilly, and wet days. I am also grateful for laughter.

The last week has been exhausting and emotional at work, which of course trickles over into the hours outside of work. I have reminded myself to be kind and gentle to all, myself included. It can start with quiet for me.

Usually I give myself ten minutes or so at the beginning of both my commute to and from work when I keep it quiet. No radio. No songs or news. Just quiet and road noise. It calms me. Yesterday, the quiet was feeling especially comforting, so I kept it that way for my entire commute of thirty minutes.

It helped. When I arrived home, it was raining and a run outside wasn't an appealing idea at all. But I had the urge to get some sweat going. I headed down to our home "gym"- an old Nordic Track machine we got free, my trusty old jump rope, our new exercise bike, all of which I am very grateful to have.

Often when I exercise, I am thinking through the day's "stuff" or some goals and ideas I may have. Yesterday, I didn't need any thoughts. I needed more of that quiet. So I counted the back and forth of the Nordic Track skis. It was a brain washing of sorts.

It helped.  Within a few minutes the sweat was flowing. That helped too.

Quiet. Counting. Sweating. Kind and gentle with self and others.