Another Point of Gratitude

Today, I am grateful for a quiet place to meditate. I woke up late this morning, so my routine was curtailed a great deal. I only had time for a very short meditation. I could really feel it at work. I was distracted, and I could feel irritation starting to build.

I finished a task at work, and I walked down the street to the cathedral during my break. I sat in the back row and meditated. I sat there and breathed. The New Moon was last night, so I made some wishes, too. I felt so good when I finished. I’m calmer, and I don’t feel any irritation building.

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A Point of Gratitude

Today, I am grateful for the exercise I get from speed walking. I walk early in the morning after I’ve meditated. It’s still dark most mornings, and the world is quiet. It’s really nice. I walk by some gardens, and one has a night-blooming jasmine that smells divine.

I went out and walked during my lunch break, too. That’s not usual, and I got really sweaty. Still, I enjoyed it. I love the feeling of moving. It’s very comforting.

Opening Energy

Yesterday, I woke up and meditated as usual, and then I did something that’s different. I put on my swimsuit, and I went to the water. I don’t do this often, because of anxiety, but yesterday, I didn’t give myself time to think about it. I just did it.

I went in for just a short time and got completely under the water at one point. I floated for a while.

I got out and stood for some time letting the water drip off me with the sun shining on my back through some wispy clouds. I just watched the water and the people around me.

With my glasses on this time, I went back in the water and stood. I just let the feeling of the water surround me. I didn’t have any agenda. I allowed it to flow. I allowed myself to simply be there. A young man and his dog were swimming back and forth together. The dog looked like he was really enjoying himself. It was rapturous to watch. They were full of sheer joy.

I got back out, and though I’d only been there about an hour, I decided to go home. I rinsed off in the shower, and the young man and his dog were there. I told him how much joy it had given me to watch them play. He grinned widely.

As I walked back to my car, I felt amazing. I’d only been in the water a short time, but I felt exuberant. I felt elated. I felt completely open. I used that feeling throughout yesterday, and I’ve recalled it today, too.

I’ve got a lot of stress going on at work, and this feeling of openness is really helping. I can bring it up to the surface by closing my eyes and calling it to return. It’s pure joy. I’m so grateful for it.

I will be returning to the water again soon.

Some Thoughts

It’s the holiday season. It’s the end of a calendar year. Saturn ingresses into Capricorn in about half a day as I’m writing this. It’s a time of transitions.

I’m writing this at my desk at work, and I am enormously grateful for my life today. I am able to work. I was disabled for many years. I have a home. I have a car that runs well. I have friends. In early December, I hosted a Christmas party at my house when we came together to eat and decorate my tree. It was such a special evening.

I got to this place after many years of being in dark times. I was so low that I came very close to suicide. I have had many different changes in my medication regimen, finally settling on one that worked well. I have been radically open in my therapeutic relationships with psychiatrists and psychologists. I have meditated. I have slept when I needed it. I have exercised most days.

There is not one simple answer as to why I have recovered and am in the place I am. It’s a combination.

Each recovery is unique. We each get to search for what works for us. I am happy to share what has worked for me in this blog, and I hope it offers you some ideas.

I wish a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.

Life is getting better

Therapy is one of the pillars of my recovery. I have been in therapy for the majority of the past 30 years. I was even in therapy for some of the years I lived abroad.

I don’t remember when it happened, but at some point, I learned to be radically open with my psychologists. I tell them everything. There’s an important benefit from this habit: everything has a chance to heal. My darkest secrets can come up and see the light and either transform or vanish.

I had a session last night, and I had an important breakthrough. It sounds simple, but it was quite profound for me. It amounts to:

I’m okay.

It’s that simple. I have many desires, and many times I allow them to become obsessive. I have one desire that has been dominating my life for more than a year. I realized in therapy last night that even if that desire is never realized in the way my imagination is demanding, I’m okay.

I have a lot of fear surrounding finances, but you know what? I’m okay. I’m better off than 95% of the people on the planet actually. I have a roof over my head. I have a car. I have a job. When I go to the grocery store, I buy anything I want without worrying about the price.

Relationships? I’m okay. I have been making new friends. It took a while after moving to this city for my new job two years ago, but I’m making new friends now. I have a good romantic life, too. It’s not what I want in the long run, but it’s good for now.

The most important point is that I’m okay in my own skin. I’m better than okay actually. I like being me. I could not say that just a few years ago.

Go back through the archives of this blog seven years ago. I lived in a dark place. Fear ruled me. What changed? Me. I healed.

Recovery from mental illness is real. It happened to me.

Gratitude

One constant in my recovery has been gratitude. These days, I give thanks as I lie in bed at night for anything that I’m grateful for. In years past, this process was often very deliberate and structured. I made time to write out a gratitude list.

Writing was often important, because I needed the discipline of sitting and concentrating on why I was grateful. Early on, I had to be very concrete. I often listed body parts that worked well as reasons to be grateful: legs, hands, a strong heart, etc. It was so easy to spend time ruminating on what was wrong in my life. I needed these times to remember there was good, too.

Gradually, I could take my mind off what seems so elementary like health and find gratitude in what was around me. I was able to stop looking within and able to look outward and see the joy in life at large.

It really is a miracle just to be alive.

If you’re new to the idea of gratitude, it might be a good idea to start with very simple things. If you’re healthy, you may begin with the different areas of your health that are going well. If you work or volunteer, that might be a good place to start, too. Look around you. Can you be grateful for a place to live? Is today’s weather good?

Look at your relationships. Are some of them going very well? Remember to be grateful for those people close to you.

Do you have activities that bring a smile to your face? Think about those kinds of things. Put them on a gratitude list.

Being grateful has one goal: allowing us to realize the good we have in our lives.

Today, I’m most grateful that I get to be me.