"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

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Quiet Desperation

Today I am grateful for the morning quiet and coming daylight that help me start my day with peace.
I am also grateful for fewer times of quiet desperation in my own life.

I witnessed someone the other day showing a little desperation, or that is what it looked like to me. It wasn't an emergency, but you could hear it in the person's voice and body language. It had to do with money. My first thought went to someone that edgy needing money for an addiction.

My second thought was deep gratitude that I am no longer an active alcoholic. I had times of desperation when I made choices I am not proud of. I survived and continue to recover.

Quiet desperation. We have all been there, in one way or another. Sometimes it is a short trip. Other times it is a long stay. What I have learned through regular gratitude practice is this: life fluctuates and flows, sometimes with joy, other times with pain, and often with some of each. When I tune in to what I already have, I do much better than when I pine away for what I don't have. 

It is that simple. I try not to complicate it with too much thinking.

I will be taking a blog break for a few days.
Have a good rest of the week, a day at a time, a moment at a time. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Good Miles, Bad Miles

Today I am grateful for our son Sam's health. He had his well-child check and physical a few days ago. I am always relieved when things check out okay. And I am grateful for time with our grandson Leo and witnessing how he experiences the world.

I am also grateful for wisdom shared by others. One of my recovery friends, with many years of sobriety, was just talking about having "good miles and bad miles" over the years.

I would be lying if I said I never had any good miles in my using days. There were fun times and laughter. There was escape from worry and fear. There were hilarious memories. But most of those came before alcohol got a stranglehold on me-which really didn't take long.

Today when I think of good miles, I first go to all the running miles I have logged. Some have been easier and more enjoyable, others more difficult. They have all been good miles. I am deeply grateful for the thousands of miles I have logged, solo and with my husband and others, and humbly grateful to continue adding them up.

When I think of bad miles, I think of the miles I drove when I should not have been driving. Or the miles my mind traveled in the worst of my self-pity. I survived and got on a better path.

Those bad miles are part of my journey, but I am glad they are mostly in my rearview mirror today.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

A Very Big Open House

Today I am grateful for a bed to sleep in and a washer and dryer that works. I take both for granted much of the time, when many others go without either.

Yesterday we attended the biggest open house event I have ever been to. It was an opportunity to get a free look at the just opened U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, new home of the Minnesota Vikings. Skol Vikings!

We drove in rain, very heavy at times. (Thanks for driving Darcy.) We waited in a long line, sharing an umbrella. We walked the tour with hundreds and thousands of others and took a seat in one of the sections they had open. It was fun and not something you do every day. We were impressed with what we saw and look forward to being there for an event or game in the future.

I took several pictures and in the end chose this one to post:

A sail on a Viking ship and a cloud-shrouded city skyline. The picture only tells so much. You had to be there. That's the point. Be present for life today. Show up and pay attention!

Friday, July 22, 2016

So Sew

Today I am grateful for easy access to clean water and how refreshing a shower
can feel on a hot day.

Sewing has become something of a lost art. Though for me, it was never an art. It was a project/assignment in a class I think was called Coed Consumer Living when I was a high school freshman. The skirt I completed was never actually worn. The crooked waistband, among other things, kept me from parading around in it. (Those who knew me as a youngster would say I didn't like to be in anything dressy or too girly-girly.)

My mom and several of my sisters were good at sewing and I was impressed with their skills and end products. It just wasn't one of the things I cared to try much.

In the few years since that class, the extent of my sewing has been limited primarily to replacing buttons and small mending and hemming jobs. For years, anything bigger than that and I would take it home to my mom. Now, I am willing to pay someone else to do it.

As I did one of those button replacements last evening, I appreciated that I could do this simple task. I was grateful for my eyesight-strong enough to thread the needle and find buttonholes. I was thankful for fingers nimble enough to maneuver the needle. Not to mention the fact that I have plenty of clothes to wear in all seasons, and some will lose a button from time to time.

So a little bit of sewing brought a healthy dose of gratitude. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Time as Teacher

Today I am grateful for my friends and a newcomer at breast cancer support group last evening, and for the years of combined living we have since our diagnoses.

Years. Months. Days. Minutes. Moments. Precious time, no matter how it is measured. I appreciated my sister Danita's most recent post on her blog "Aging Wrinkles and Wonders" titled
What Time is It? 

I read the honest words of my sister and paused to consider my own perception and use of time. It is usually easy to find the literal answer to "What time is it?" It is a far deeper endeavor to explore what I am doing with my time. Is it well spent or wasted?

Time is to be cherished, yet I can squander it as well as anyone. Make no mistake, doing nothing and squandering time are NOT the same thing. Sometimes pausing, resting, sitting and doing nothing is the best use of time. Squandering is wasting it in worry or waiting or wondering what to do.

Is my time going to who and what I love? Isn't that really the goal of a rich life?

Time will continue to unfold in minutes and hours. The trick for me is how I experience that unfolding. Overdoing and overthinking? Or pausing and practicing presence?

Danita's post ended with this quote:
"Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately, it kills all its pupils."  (Louis Hector Berlioz)

Am I waiting to be killed by time, or am I living the lessons it has taught me?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Blessings of Blogging

Today I am grateful for self-forgiveness and for hats that keep sweat out of my eyes on a run.

Now that I have two blogs I am writing, I am feeling even more focused. And more blessed. It took me some time to get comfortable with this format, but now I am. What I really appreciate and could not have anticipated is what this format allows me as a writer.

I can compose a post in a few minutes if I wish (though my other blog takes more planning). I can write a draft in my notebook or on a piece of paper, or use my phone on the go to get one started. Often, like now, I use our computer.

I am old-fashioned and still hang on to the significance of putting pen to paper. I always will do some of that. It is the most direct path from heart, to head, to hand that I know.

The real blessing of blogging though, is that I make time for it. I post to "Habitual Gratitude" usually pretty early in the day. So before I have done too many other things, I have honored my writing and my gratitude practice by giving them each some time. What a gift. What a healthy and calming way to start the day.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Adding Up: A 3 x 3

Today I am grateful for time with friends last evening and for the way gratitude practice has multiplied the amount of peace I feel.

One of the practices I sometimes use is a little equation I have dubbed 3 x 3, but any combination works. I create a list of three gratitudes, and then I give 3 reasons why each of those three bring me appreciation. 

1. My friends in recovery

a. They understand me in ways no one else can.
b. Compassion and unconditional love anyone?
c. We share mutual respect. 

2. Laughter

a. It creates more laughter.
b. It means I am comfortable with those around me.
c. Like a smile, it means the same thing in all languages.

3. My breast prostheses

a. They help my clothes fit better. 
b. They can be easily cleaned.
c. Always a perky pair.

Consider doing your own 3 x 3 and I welcome seeing it in the comments. Have a good day!