The Gratitude Project
This is a collection of entries from my Facebook page that were created when my friend Steve On Broadway (one time blogger) challenged me to show five days of gratitude. On each of these days, I was to name three things for which I am grateful. My postings garnered me some lovely emails and FB comments, so I have copied them to share them here.
One of my dearest friends has challenged me via Facebook to publicly express my gratitude on three points on each of five days. Steve On Broadway Here is Day One of #GratitudeProject. Thanks for including me. I don’t think people focus enough on gratitude and I want to be grateful. For everything.
1) I am grateful for the sun. I hurt my back three weeks ago and spend most of my time lying still at home but whenever I get out of the house, the sun on my skin makes me feel better. It gives me hope and happiness. Today I could barely walk but the slow trip to the doctor’s office made it a wonder to be outside.
2) I am grateful for my best friend, the love of my life and the reason I awaken each day and draw breath. Were it not for Pat Dwyer, I would be, literally, a different person or even a dead person, dead of alcohol poisoning or suicide or any of the other horrible things from which he has saved me, every day for 28 years.
3) I am grateful for music. There is not a day that goes by when I am not listening to music, singing or dancing. Without music, this life would be a really rough road.
Continuing Day Two of #GratitudeProject as Challenged by Steve On Broadway , I am to name three things for which I am grateful, for five days. It is a challenge I accept because I have had my share of unhappiness and hard knocks in my life and looking at the gratitude is a great way to live in the light.
1) I am grateful for my health. I’ve had bad physical, mental and emotional health in my life and I always get through it. Some things take a little longer but I always do. Even now I am struggling with a crippling back injury but each day I wake up and I stretch and I foam roll and I heat and I ice and I see the healers that will get me through this one, too. There are a lot of people out there with failing health and failing body parts; so I cannot bring myself to complain about mine, even though, sometimes, the pain makes me cry. For today and every day, though, I am grateful for the health and body that I have and for the chance to be alive, which is a tremendous opportunity.
2) I am grateful for the city in which I live, one of the loves of my life. I was born a New Yorker, even though it took me 29 years to get here. I will die a New Yorker.
3) I am grateful for the healers that help me with the good health, mentioned above. I give them shout outs often: Jason Piken, chiropractor. Howard Scheiner and Ken Schaefer MDs. In Gil Lee acupuncture. Mark Delabarre cranio sacral therapy. I am currently without a massage therapist but I have a strong feeling that a new one is coming my way in the days to come. These people help me to maintain a body that I have, to my shame, used in the extreme without much consideration, until recent years. Now that it has been broken a few times, they are always there to help put me back together with spit and glue. I hope they know the debt that I owe them goes deeper than a simple thank you.
One of my treasured friends Steve On Broadway has challenged me via Facebook to publicly express my gratitude on three points on each of five days. I am on Day Three of #GratitudeProject:
1) I am grateful for my addictions. Addiction has been my constant companion, probably all my life, since before I even knew what addiction was. As a child, I could not eat one plum out of the crisper – I ate them all. As a teenager I could not buy just one or two Barbra Streisand record, I had to have them all. In my twenties, I could not drink one glass of Scotch, I had to drink it all. My life as an addict has given me my lowest lows (if you want to know the depth of misery, drink any brown liquor to wash down painkillers) and my highest highs (each time that I realize – and, yes, sometimes I forget – that I have managed to go without a drink, I am born into the light, again). My life as an addict has taught me my greatest lessons, among them, what it is to be truly cruel, to be truly humiliated and to be truly contrite. Most of all, though, my life as an addict has shown me the two goal posts by which I can measure my life: how weak I am and how strong I am. Yes, being an addict brings hateful misery into one’s life but the rewards addiction has given me by far outweigh the misery. I say this today to celebrate my sobriety and the men who helped give me that sobriety: Brady, Danny and Pat. And Ste.
2) I am grateful for food. Proper food. Not the garbage that people eat that they think is food. Food. There is so much good real food out there that is wonderful that we don’t ever have to even consider eating the manufactured food that is killing us. I love oranges. I love lettuce. I love beets (a lot of people don’t – too bad for them). I love meat and fish and I love broccoli and apples. I love water – never drink soda, hardly drink juice. I could go the rest of my life without wheat, sugar or dairy and still be happy with my diet. There was a time when all I ate was fast food and processed baked goods. I haven’t even had a candy in so long I don’t remember. Eating real food for me is like living, always, in the light.
3) I am grateful for the teachers. I have learned so much in this life from people, starting with my mama and daddy, who taught me how to be good and how to be true. My Grandmother taught me about art and how to think and my Grandfather and Aunt taught me the effects of cruelty on human people, through their epic failures at kindness toward others. I have had school teachers and life teachers; I have learned from strangers on the street and strangers within the pages of books and on screens, be they movie, tv or computer. Each day I look forward to learning something new and the lessons usually come from the people in my life. My greatest teachers have been my family, my teachers Matthew and Ray and my husband. Of course, I have managed to teach myself some things too and that is because, when I pray, I ask OB1 to bless me with an open mind. Speaking of teachers….
One of my treasured friends Steve On Broadway has challenged me via Facebook to publicly express my gratitude on three points on each of five days. I am on Day Four of #GratitudeProject:
1) I am grateful for the people who said yes. All my life, I’ve stood in front of people, hat in hand, asking for something. Friendship, approval, work, respect, love. The people who have said yes have taught me about human kindness, reverence for human frailty, acknowledgment of your fellow human beings. They have taught me humility and the wealth to be gained by being humble and by feeling both appreciated and appreciation. Their kindnesses in saying yest to me made it possible for me to understand the importance of saying yes to others. Strangers have said yes to me when asked for favours, including every celebrity I ever got to photograph. Family has said yes to me when asked for everything ranging from rescue to respect. Yes is a powerful word. You never know how it’s going to change your life.
2) I am grateful for the people who said no. Nothing stings so much as asking for something and being told you can’t have it. A job you really want, another piece of birthday cake, a kiss. It leaves a longing that lingers until you learn to release it into the ether. Once you do, you are stronger than you were before. The people who said no to me have made me braver, more determined and better equipped to go out and get what I want for myself, by myself. They have taught me how to deal with pain and rejection, disappointment and disregard. They have taught me to depend on myself and they have taught me when it is right to protect myself from feeling like a filling station by saying no at the right times; but also how to keep from hurting others by not saying no at the right times. Through their rejection and neglect, they have broadened the scope of my kindness and thoughtfullness.
3) I am grateful for the people who volunteered, without having been asked. There is no feeling quite like being rescued. When you are in need, when you are in trouble, when you are drowning, lost or alone, having someone say I’m Here, Let Me Help, tells you that they are looking at you, that they see you, that they are there for you. That kind of unsolicited help lets you know that you are not alone and that there are people who love you enough to watch out for you and throw a lifeline when you need it. It gives you a security that overrides the fear of the people who are only there to take from you, until you feel like people have been pulling chunks out of you til nothing is left. Those people who save you, the personal heroes, are more than personal heroes, they are guardian angels.
Today is my 5th and final day with the #GratitudeProject to which my darling Steve On Broadway challenged me. The challenge: write about three things for which I am grateful for 5 days and share them, publicly, on Facebook. I noticed that Steve challenged more people to do it on each of his five days. I am not going to challenge anyone; however, I will INVITE anyone who has read these five entries of mine to do this exercise and to tag me. I have really learned a lot these five days and I am very glad he asked me and very happy that I said yes.
1) I am grateful for my mind. Often, I say that I am not smart or I downplay my intelligence. It’s a good joke and a good way to shirk the responsibility of accountability. The truth: I have an IQ in the triple digits and more than average common sense. There are some things I don’t understand very well; but if they are explained to me, I can learn them and work with them. With the mind that I have I have been able to learn, to grow, to create, to teach, to live. I have created a family, cared for them, overcome obstacles and changed the world; or, at least, parts of it. That’s enough.
2) I am grateful for the aforementioned family. They know what they mean to me, though some days I am too focused on other things to remind them; and when they forget, it doesn’t take long for something to show them, once more, that they are my first priority. Family starts with mom and dad, goes to the siblings, the children, the family we make of the strangers we win over and it ends with the husband I declared gratitude for on Day 1 of this exercise.
3) I am grateful for just being alive, which I almost wasn’t on more than one occasion. Just being alive is a tremendous opportunity.