Intro from Marsha:
Recently, on one of our neighborhood walks, I told Pat I was feeling down. The feeling has been a regular visitor since the pandemic began, and I’ve been learning to let it come and go as it will.
As we talked, it suddenly hit me: why don’t I start a gratitude practice? I know there are lots of studies showing that people with some kind of gratitude practice are helped by it, often significantly. I frequently recommend it to my clients. So why am I not doing it? I didn’t have a good answer, but thought, “Well, there’s no time like the present!” Within a day or two, we received this post from Eileen. Serendipity!
In Judeo/Christian religions, there’s a lot of talk about praising God. Sometimes I have wondered, what kind of God needs constant praise? Is (He/She/It) some kind of narcissist? Then it dawned on me. It’s not that God needs praise. It’s that WE NEED to praise! Praising God, or a Higher Power is all about two things:
Gratitude helps me remove myself from self-pity and resentments. It is a form of praising my Higher Power for my blessings.
Most days, I write down five things I’m grateful for. This is a very simple and, on the surface, superficial practice. But I have found it transforming. During this pandemic, sometimes the list is something like this:
• I can see
• I can hear
• I can walk
• I can smell
• I can talk
Sometimes it is something like this:
• I have food
• I have heat
• I have shelter
• I have friends and family
• I have transportation
Pretty basic stuff.
When I list what I’m thankful for, it automatically reminds me that there are people who do NOT have these things, so it puts my petty concerns into perspective. My sponsor suggests having fun with it, such as listing one for every letter of the alphabet or five things that I’ve never listed before.
Humility comes when I recognize that I am not in charge of the universe.
I frequently want to run the world, so praising the God of my understanding helps remind me that it’s not my job. My job is just to be of service. I am not the world’s messiah. I am not in control and I can relinquish my need to be the director of the entire production. I don’t know what’s best for you or, for that matter, even me. I have often had unexpected or even terrible things happen that turned out to be a huge blessing …or at least a good learning experience!
In general, when I remember to live in an attitude of gratitude it is a quick cure for self-pity and resentments. It opens the door to happiness.
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