"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

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Manure

Today I am grateful for time with recovery friends yesterday and for interest in and passion for the science of positive psychology.

I was considering "m" words to blog about when MANURE came to mind. For no particular reason, it just did. The farm girl in me smiled and I started typing. Interesting topic, this manure. Animal waste. Smelly stuff.

I grew up in close proximity to it from a variety of sources-cows, pigs, chickens. I recall helping clean out gutters in the barn, or the annual cleaning of the chicken house before a new batch of young chickens was moved in. It was just part of what we did and part of life on the farm.You wore boots and you changed clothes when needed. Fresh air was always just a few steps away.

But manure is more than smelly waste. Manure is good fertilizer for fields and gardens. It's an effective recycling program and one that has been used for hundreds and thousands of years. In fact, a wider definition of manure is any refuse used as fertilizer. Table scraps. Fruit peels. My mom got more use out of more things like that and taught her children valuable lessons about caring for God's creation. She continues those practices today.

And then I considered manure on a more figurative level. What difficulties and challenges, what manure of my life, became good fertilizer for later growth and flourishing? Drinking to excess. Perfectionism. Putting myself and others in harm's way because of my drinking. Self-hatred. Smoking. Thoughts of depression and worthlessness. Not liking my body. Plenty of smelly manure, broken dreams, wasted time in all of that.

Today I am forever grateful to the people who helped me put the waste in it's place-as fertilizer for a healthier future. I am grateful to my Higher Power for helping convert the waste to the wonderful gifts of self-acceptance and sobriety. Without the messy, smelly times in life, I wouldn't be here at this fruitful place.

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