Monday, December 30, 2019

Attitude of Gratitude

The new year is upon us once again. It will mark the end of the first decade in the year 2000. Politically, our country is a mess. The United States is divided. She is angry, frustrated and scared. Her people are fighting, disrespectful and openly hurtful in many ways. Many of her people are sick, hungry and abandoned or alone. Her ground is scorched, drowned and blown away. So, what is there to be grateful for?

 I say, "Look at what you have; not at what you don't have. Therein lie your blessings." List your Blessings and be grateful for them. Soon, you will smile and feel happier.

Here is what I am grateful for:
  1. I am healthy. I may have osteoarthritis with its concomitant aches and pains, but I can do pretty much anything I want physically. Sure, my priorities have changed over time. I am seventy years old now. When my mother was seventy, she was dying from breast cancer. I don't want to scuba dive anymore, but I look forward to snorkeling The Great Barrier Reef in three weeks. I don't want to ski, but I can snowshoe. I don't want to run a race, but I can walk two miles or more. I walked three miles the other day. I got tired and sore, but that's just because I haven't walked that distance in a long time. If I were to do it more regularly, my body would be used to it and hurt much less or not at all.
  2. I have enough money. I am not rich, although some would perceive me as such. Whatever I have, I try to share it as much as possible. I do not share to my detriment, but to keep the flow of abundance coming to me. I try to help those less fortunate or in trouble when I can. I use my intuition to determine if a handout to a street person is in our best interest or not. I don't know one way or the other, but I have to feel good about my donations. I won't help when others are better off helping themselves. I may assist, but I will not "do for". Every person must do for him/her Self. Some are at a disadvantage. I get that. I try to help when and however I can. Again, I have to feel good about my giving. Giving is not a one-way street. You really do get back what you give out.
  3. I have a loving husband who gets me and supports me no matter what. He accepts me for exactly who I am. I never thought I would meet a man like that. I waited a long time for him. We married when I was fifty-one years old. I kept a glimmer of hope alive.  I also admit that I whined a lot along the way. Just ask my siblings and my closest friends. Sorry about that.
  4. I am very proud of my handsome, wonderful and successful son. I am proud of my Self too. I was an unwed mother when it was not a popular or accepted life choice. His father was never in his life, so I was both mother and father. I was an emerging Soul with an adventurous Spirit. I always did what I was told, and never spoke my mind. I didn't realize I had opinions as a young person. Then, at seventeen years old, I decided my way of being was not working for me anymore. I declared over a Whopper at the Burger King in Waltham, Massachusetts that I was going to "try everything in life at least once". That was the day my Life Quest began. I had already met my son's father, and my first "Love at First Sight". During our relationship, I had visions of how it would progress. At eighteen, I knew I would get pregnant by him and never marry him. That thought didn't scare me, I just accepted it and didn't worry. I was the oldest of twelve in a working-class Irish Catholic family. I knew how to care for a baby. So, when I got pregnant by him in Colorado at age twenty, I was excited. I wanted a baby to love me like no boy had ever done. I felt unloved in general and didn't love my Self very much. I had a lot to learn. I put my son through more than most little kids experience because I was set on "finding myself". My mother used to say, "Kathleen, when are you going to find yourself?" "Soon, Ma," was all I ever said. She died before she could see the results of my Quest.
  5. My beautiful son married a wonderful and beautiful woman. They gave us an equally beautiful and funny grandson. This little boy makes me so happy. He fills my Spirit up like nothing else can. Our relationship keeps me feeling young. My inner child is very happy. My body is happy too because he keeps me moving and engaged. My creativity blossoms around him. That creativity allowed me to write books and create a business:
  6. My husband and I have two adorable little dogs. They are both a joy and a pain in the ass. Our lives would be emptier without them. They are our "Love Dogs".
  7. We have many good friends. We have made friends our own age and are not limited to weekend socialization. We also maintain friendships from our past. There is nothing like friends who have known you your entire life. Bullshit cannot survive within those relationships, and so we keep growing. We also maintain friendships across distances. Those relationships just require more planning.
  8. We have loving siblings and many family members who love us. I thank God for them every day. Nobody is perfect. The lack of perfection is what makes Life interesting. Family dynamics should be messy. We are talking about individuals who grew up in the same house with different perceptions of that house and experiences in it. My experience as the oldest is not the same as that of my sister in the middle, or that of the youngest. We came out of that house with our individual "baggage", but we leave that baggage at the door when we gather for important occasions. Our family knows how to laugh together and we love each other. That Love is the most important Gift we have.
  9. My home and the area in which I live is beautiful. I live by the ocean. Living on the ocean was a life-long dream I never thought would realize. Sometimes I still cannot believe it. My husband and I designed our home and had it built. After eleven years in it, we still look at each other and say with gratitude, "We did this! Holy crap!"
  10. I learned to smile, laugh and joke about myself. I am the ice breaker in any social event. I learned that playing "the fool" is not such a bad thing. Many people want to act foolishly, but find it debilitating. There always has to be one who breaks that ice and makes it a little easier for people around her to let the child within out safely. That inner child is the one who keeps us young. It is the one who keeps us moving. It is the one who expresses Joy. Joy is what makes us happy. The expression of Joy is one thing in Life that must be kept alive. I decided in a revelation one Sunday morning over tea, that my mission in life is just that: I keep Joy alive. It sounds like a simple thing, but trust me. It is not.
  11. I began singing as a child to Elvis, Pat Boone, and Mitch Miller's bouncing ball. I learned to sing in Latin at Saint Catherine's Elementary School in Norwood, Massachusetts. I sang Beatles harmonies with two girlfriends on the front steps. I jumped up in bars and Elk halls to grab a microphone any chance made available to me. I always loved a spotlight and a microphone. You'd never know that to see me as a young introverted child. But I changed over time. I changed consciously. I chose Change. I still sing. Now I sing with the community chorus. We perform two concerts every year, and in the coming year, I will get to sing on the ultimate stage: Carnegie Hall. I am so grateful for my imperfect singing voice. It is good enough for me to derive much Joy from singing. My Spirit is lifted and I feel so happy. My choral director says she loves my singing face. She looks for my face at every concert because it expresses all my Joy. And, I cannot stand still when I sing. I love to dance.
  12. I am grateful that my arthritis does not prevent me from dancing like a teenager when the spirit moves. I got to dance just this past weekend at my friend's son's wedding. I was one of the first ones on the dance floor, and one of the last to leave it. I spent the next day resting all day, but I had so much fun. My twenty-two-year-old Goddaughter told me I was so much fun and she missed me at the end of the wedding reception. Her sister, my special twenty-eight-year-old friend, told me the same thing. I am so grateful my knees can keep up with me. I must not take them for granted. 
Happy New Year, Everyone! I hope it brings us all more Good Health, Healing for those in pain now, and pain relief. I hope that those who live in fear will find all the support and guidance they need to feel safe and find happiness through Love. Love is the opposite of fear. The Light to illuminate the darkness. Let us all find the Courage to shine our personal Light in our lives and in the world. Our world needs all the Light it can handle. I pray it has the courage to receive that Love and Light we shine.

Try to shine every moment of every day. I know that challenge is difficult for many. But, it is not impossible. Take one baby step at a time towards the Light. Take a risk when the moment presents itself to shine your own Light. Shine your Light through Love and not in fear. Be respectful and don't take anything or anyone for granted. Express appreciation to everyone and for everything. Smile and Breathe. "Thank you for that parking spot or this beautiful sunset," I say. Every moment of gratitude is a matter of levels and degrees. No amount is too big or too small. It is all "just right".

Bring it on, 2020! I'm ready for whatever you have waiting for Me. I welcome you with open arms, an open mind, and an open heart. I wish the same for all of You. Peace.