September 6, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude, balanced by Self-Knowledge

What kind of a world do I want to live in? Let me begin to create that world today by doing one small thing to move my attitude in that direction.

I have found that a gratitude list helps when I feel low, but sometimes it helps to be stringently honest, first.  Know yourself be honest. One time I made a list of all the things I was unhappy about. The list did not prove endless after all!  After a while I saw a pattern and that things could be grouped together.  I put the list aside, ready for action if I discovered any new complaints.  Surprisingly, I did not feel the need to return very much at all. 

Several days later my depression passed. I felt such gratitude, that I made a new list of what was good in my life.  Once done, I thought, "This might be good to keep handy the next time I feel down." 

It happened that when I went to put the gratitude list away that I noticed the complaint list and read it once more. To my surprise, my list of grievances was almost identical to my gratitude list--the same people, the same house, the same life. Nothing about my circumstances had changed except the way I felt about them. For the first time, I truly understood how much my attitude dictates the way I experienced the world. 

My mind can be very powerful. This alone can make it a challenge to admit the powerlessness of our first step in EA.  I would like to think I have the power to always feel good, but I have no interest in whitewashing my difficulies by pasting a smile on my face. 

I do recognize that I am constantly making choices about how I perceive my world. With the help of our EA tools and program friends, I can make these choices more consciously and more actively than ever before.

"Change your thoughts and you change your world." Norman Vincent Peale

Adapted for use in my EA program walk from August 30's reading in Courage to Change

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