When we we heard someone using words like “miracles” or “miraculous” many of us felt uncomfortable. We were of the school of thought that felt there was a logical explanation for almost everything that occurred in the universe. We had repeatedly heard about miracles which were later found to be explainable thru the laws of reason or science. Then perhaps one day while we were griping to someone about this miracle talk, an old timer interrupted our conversation and said, “how has your life changed since you entered the program”? Now that was something we could talk about. There had been so many changes for the better. Relationships had been reclaimed, finances had been restored, and health greatly improved. While we were active, in our wildest dreams we didn’t think that the type of life we were living was even in the realm of “possibility”. Yet now, thru the program we had fulfilled those supposedly unobtainable possibilities. We had even begun to look towards the future with an eye on uncovering a whole new set of possibilities. Upon consideration, our turning possibilities into reality really was miraculous.
Personal Reflection: How have my possibilities been miraculous?
When it comes to all of the blessings we have, our minds are like a sieve. I mean really, how anyone can walk around bemoaning their fate is really quite puzzling. Each of us has so much to be thankful for. Yes, there are people that are facing a lot of adversity. That being said, they too have a bounty of blessings. The fact that we can breathe without having to think about it or walk without having to balance ourselves surely are gifts. If only we were able to have all of these gifts front and center in our minds; how much brighter each day would would be.
Paradoxically, when it comes to our troubles; are minds are more like a sponge. It is so easy for us to soak up negative energy and then hold onto to it for dear life. Some of us walk around with a troubling event long after it has past. So here is a modest proposal. Let’s attempt to reverse our brain patterns. Let’s remember our blessings like we remember our troubles; and forget our troubles like we forget our blessings. That my friends,is called recovery.
Personal Reflection: Am I able to forget my troubles and remember my blessings?
In recent years there have been a flurry of books on gratitude. Internet self help experts advice people to keep daily gratitude lists to record all that is good in their lives. In program, we too acknowledge the incredible importance of gratitude. We also maintain daily gratitude lists.
Beyond that, as part of our step work, we continue to take daily personal inventory. It is all well and good to write down 2 or 3 gratitudes in our daily journal. However, if after that we walk around leaking negativity, complaining, and judging others, are we really full of gratitude? It is only through a rigorous daily self assessment that we can ascertain how grateful we really are. It is also important to listen to the feedback from others regarding our behavior. When people indicate to us that we are being judgmental or negative, rather than getting defensive, we need to take the information and meditate on it carefully. As they say, where there’s smoke there’s fire. Finally, part of gratitude is being a gracious person who is willing to be of service to others. When you acknowledge that your cup truly does runneth over, then there is the possibility of sharing your good fortune with others.
Personal Reflection: Are your gratitude and actions in sync?
If you ask the average person to tell you 10 negative things about their life; most people will have no trouble rattling off a list of all their grievances. At the number ten they might even want to continue their list. Now ask the same person to tell you 10 things about their life that they they are grateful for. Suddenly they are not so quick to generate their list of gratitudes. Unlike their grievances people often struggle to come up with a robust gratitude list. Not to despair (and in the process add 1 more negative to your list) . Gratitude is like a muscle. The more you practice gratitude, the stronger it becomes. The next time you catch yourself being negative, simply say “rewind” and make your statement more positive in nature. Beyond that, many of us in program keep a daily gratitude list. By acknowledging all in life we are thankful for, we “cultivate” our gratitude.
Personal Reflection: Quick, write down 10 things you are grateful for in your life