I really enjoyed spending last year going through all that I was grateful for. In that moment in time, I reflected on what was good about 2017 instead of what I struggled with. I realize that we are always going to have struggles. However, it’s the amount of time and energy we allow our minds to focus on those issues that determines our happiness. In the years past, all I ever focused on was the pain, the hurt, the anger, the shame, and the guilt. I was stuck running in circles.
I have increased my grateful comments in my personal life to a daily list. I won’t bombard my Fledglings with all my grateful thoughts. However, I plan to continue doing my Grateful Sunday posts. Here’s the entire list for 2018 (this time in ascending order). My wish is that you too learn to do the same in your personal life. And my hope is that others will join me and post each Sunday about what they too were grateful for each week.
Let’s create a community of grateful people so that Together We Can Heal!
~ Phoenix Emery
The reading at my last 12 Step meeting was based around gratitude. In my share, I explained I had written down what I was most thankful for at the end of each week and that I had re-read all my gratitude posts on the 31st of December.
I know there were days that were difficult. I know there was time where I struggled and didn’t believe I could go on. I know there was time when I needed to reach out to a friend to give me the support I needed to survive the next hour.
However, when I looked at the good in my life for the past year, I felt a warmth spread over me. Connection, hope, happiness, and love. These emotions blossomed like the rising sun, sending the dark scattering into the shadows. My perception in my life shifted. Trials instead became pathways to growth. Pain was necessary to feel joy. A weight had been lifted off my soul.
When I finished my share, a good friend leaned over and whispered. “When you looked at all you were grateful for last year, what was top on the list? Family? Career? Travel? Recovery?”
“Family,” I answered without hesitation.
“Yes. Family is always number one,” he responded with a knowing nod and smile.
I am grateful for my family.
I’m grateful for the time I’ve taken this week for self care. I took myself out to the movies, finished a good book, worked on my cross-stitch project, got back into the gym, listened to great podcasts and caught up on one of my favorite shows. I even went out with a coworker to watch dueling piano players, enjoying singing out loud, watching and the wide variety of music that was requested (from Disney to Gangster rap – WOW).
It’s easy at times to get busy with life and forget to look inward and take care of ourselves. Love and take care of our inner children as we would our own kids. The payoffs of joy, gratitude, and self connection are priceless.
I’m grateful for Alexa and my new Echo Dot. When it comes to technology, I’m usually the last one to the party (unless it pertains to music). I think I gave up my pager for a flip phone when the first smartphone came out.
For instance, I showed up for work today and one of my coworkers commented on something I had posted on Facebook. Really? I don’t remember posting anything on Facebook lately. He said, “Yeah. It was the one where you were with your girls in your car. Looked like you were having fun. You’re doing it right, man. Spending time with your daughters. That’s awesome.” I was perplexed and checked Facebook. Nothing. I checked Instagram. Nothing.
Wait…I remember now. My daughter wanted to use my Snapchat to make sure her makeup was good and had taken a picture of both her and her sister. She asked us both if it was ok that she posted it and she typed something explaining she was going to word it like it was coming from me. Great, another social media platform I need to start staying current on.
Anyway, back to Alexa. Let’s say, this is the first time I asked a woman to do something without feeling guilt that I didn’t say please. I also need to be direct expressing my needs or else she has no idea what I want. Well, that’s going to help me in my regular life. Expressing needs and wants is a huge work in progress.
My girls and I scrolled through different commands, plugging her into one of my DJ speakers. Lots and lots of music, setting a timer while baking cookies, getting the weather, current news, and asking her for jokes and quotes. I wanted to play Jeopardy, but was nixed by my oldest. Some things I will just have to do when the girls aren’t around. I also had fun setting random reminders causing her to talk to my girls when I wasn’t in the house.
I did freak out while I was out and about and my youngest daughter called my cell phone from Alexa to ask me a question. Evidently we can call out anyone on my contacts list just by speaking the command. Some things I’ll just let my kids teach me.
A toast to life and fun toys!!
I’m grateful for my recovery program. I’ve learned that it’s not that I won’t struggle in life, but how I manage my struggles that matters. What is the story I make up? What are the tools I’m going to use when I’m feeling off? How do I allow myself to accept my emotions, work through them, and learn from them?
Jack Canfield states in his book The Success Principles:
E + R = O
(Event + Response) = Outcome
The basic idea is that the very outcome you experience in life (whether it is success or failure, wealth or poverty, health or illness, intimacy or estrangement, joy or frustration) is the result of how you have responded to an earlier event or events in your life.
He’s reminded me, that if I don’t like the outcomes I’m currently getting in my life, I have two choices.
- I can blame the event (E) for my lack of results (O).
- I can instead change my response (R) to the events (E) – the way things are – until I get the outcome (O) I want.
This is where I am grateful for recovery. Without recovery, I wouldn’t have been fully able to accept that I still point my finger and blame. Without recovery, I wouldn’t be willing to continue to look inward and do the work I need to do so I can heal. Without recovery, I wouldn’t be able to accept that I’m not perfect and end up shaming myself for doing the same things over again. Without recovery, I wouldn’t have learned how to be gentle on myself while nurturing my inner child.
Today I’m grateful that I can accept all of me as I am, complete with all my imperfections, and love who I see. I will continue to rise from the ashes daily.
I’m grateful that even though I was only home for 24 hours this past week, I had an incredible afternoon and evening with my two daughters. Years ago, I would spend all my time focusing on what I lacked and what I missed with my family, that I became blind to the moments of connection I did have with them.
Instead of dwelling on a week of being away, I choose to remember this week as my two girls sat snuggled together on a hillside overlooking a lake, our wonderful chat on the bench with them in my arms, and the three of us goofing around and singing together.
I am truly blessed!
I’m grateful that I’ve learned to let things go and I’ve learned to roll with the punches when plans fall apart. My former spouse used to tell me “things happen for a reason” and “look at this as an adventure.” Instead, I struggled to see the positive and allowed my frustrations that everything didn’t happen just as I had planned to taint not only my happiness, but the happiness of those around me.
When I allow myself to view life from a different lens, I find that wonderful memories are formed.
This week I was scheduled to go to a job fair and had asked the family to join me. Unfortunately, due to flying stand by, we quickly had to change our schedule when airline flight loads forced us to make last minute changes. Other than changing airlines and arriving later, all would have gone as planned except…I left my iPad sitting on the front seat of our car.
I’m grateful that I had one on one time with each member of my family and that I spent most of the week at home.
My oldest daughter joined me on an overnight in Los Angeles at the beginning of the week. We spent the day in Hollywood and Beverly Hills with members of my crew. Incredible tacos, lots of photos and a ton of laughs. Grabbing an ATM cupcake was also something we just HAD to do.
My youngest daughter was my Valentine and we enjoyed spicy calamari and Mac and Cheese pizza for dinner. As weird as it sounds, the pizza was AMAZING. As well as our time together.
Towards the end of the week I enjoyed wine tasting, lunch, and a walk with my former spouse and our lab. Followed by the four of us seeing the play South Pacific.
I was filled with love the entire week.
I’m grateful for good friends who care for us when we’re feeling under the weather. I’ve come leaps and bounds with self care, however, I still struggle when I’m sick. It’s incredibly hard for me to slow down and allow my body to heal. It’s comforting to have friends who are concerned and help me watch out for my well being.
As tough as it is just to sit and heal, I’m also grateful for Red Box and Movie Pass that allowed me a couple of days to veg in front of the screen. Soup, medicine, rest, and connection with people who care definitely aids in the healing process.
Ironically, I’m grateful for my tooth extraction this past Friday. I know, I know. What in the world could a tooth extraction be grateful for?
First off, I didn’t have to deal with a tough root canal in my back bottom molar. One dentist appointment vs. two or three. Don’t like dealing with shots of Novocain. Well, I guess if I get an implant I do have to go back. However, I don’t have to worry about a potential extraction in the future had I tried to save the tooth with a root canal.
Secondly, I had a ton of emotional issues that came up during the extraction; feelings of shame, unworthiness, not being perfect, and failing my parents to name a few. Once again, this may sound bad, and yet, I saw it in a positive note. It only means I still have healing to do on my faulty beliefs.
Finally, I was reminded of the quote by Master Chief John Urgayle from the movie G.I. Jane.
“Pain is your friend, your ally, it will tell you when you are seriously injured, it will keep you awake and angry, and remind you to finish the job and get the hell home. But you know the best thing about pain?…It lets you know you’re not dead yet!”
I’m not dead.
I opened childhood wounds that I still need to address.
And, I don’t have to go back to the dentist soon. Well, that’s not quite true. I do have a teeth cleaning in a week and a half.
Oh, my. This was one rough week. I tried to tough it out and go to work. At times the pain from my tooth extraction was unbearable. I really don’t remember the healing of my wisdom teeth being this painful.
Through all that discomfort, I’m still grateful.
I’m grateful that I finally listened to what this ache was telling me. Even though it took me five days to listen, I finally took myself off my trip and came home.
Self-care is something that is easily overlooked. I know what I need to do for me, and yet, I still have a tendency to put me last.
Self-care for me includes a healthy lifestyle of eating, exercise, prayer, meditation, introspective work, and connection with friends and family.
Balance and harmony.
The pain I was feeling this past week reminded me that I was out of balance. I was placing the needs of my job and the needs of others over my own personal healing. I’m grateful that it may take a while, but I’m learning to listen to what Little Phoenix needs.
When I listen to my inner child, I give myself a huge dose of Self Love!
I’m grateful that I decided self-care and healing, instead of forcing myself to go back to work before my extraction had healed. Well, I kind of had a doctor’s note for that too. As my hygienist asked a couple of days ago while getting my teeth cleaned, “Your extraction is just taking it’s own sweet time to heal, isn’t it?” I”m grateful I was able to use some heavier medication to alleviate the pain so it could heal faster than it was previously.
I had a well balanced week with my family, friends, household work, extracurricular activities, and working program.
I appreciated my former spouse including me with meal preparation at both her place and mine, and I truly enjoyed our family meals. I’m grateful that I got to spend one on one time with both my girls and I cherished the time spent with my former spouse. I’m thankful that we can finally have deep conversations where we can listen with interest, empathy, and compassion, without feeling the same defenses, resentments, and anger pop up.
A Wrinkle in Time was an amazing movie (albeit that was now eight days ago) with the underlying message that has permeated my blogs these past fifteen months. That is, when we allow our negative thoughts become our beliefs, the dark will take over. We need love to stay in the light. And the key to that is to first love ourselves.
Walking my roommate’s and our dog with my former spouse was time well spent out doors, along with the family playing in the park one evening. It’s thrilling to learn that my roommate is pregnant and I love watching the excitement my girls and former spouse get when they learn they will get to hold another newborn child.
I’m grateful my former spouse spontaneously jumped up and said, “Come on, let’s fix your washer.” In an hour and a half, using a YouTube video, a washer that has sat in my garage for over a year was finally fixed.
I do delight in being helpful and was grateful I was home to give my former spouse a hand with the See’s Candy fundraiser she does for the school district during Easter. Not only did we hammer it out, but we were able to add more Disney Rewards points for a future family trip to Disneyland.
I ended my week attending a recovery retreat, where I once again bonded with fellowship and old friends, DJ’d a dance, worked on spirituality and my connection with God, and opened up areas about myself that I still need to work on.
What can I say about this week?
Balance. Harmony. Love.
I really can’t ask for anything more.
I’m grateful for not criticizing myself for not keeping up with my weekly Grateful Sunday blogs, Motivational Monday blogs, and Wednesday Share Day blogs. I realize that life gets busy and it’s ok if I’m not perfect keeping my site current.
I’m grateful that I started the process of a blog that I needed to write many months ago. I should have that up in a couple of days. I’ve resisted and avoided doing what I need to do, and I’m grateful that I’m finally at peace to follow what my Higher Power has been telling me over and over for the past couple of years that I need to do.
I’m grateful to relinquish control and to let it go to God, to the universe. I’m aware that I do still have the tendency to want to control outcomes and that awareness will help me catch myself quicker when that happens so I can let it go once again.
I’m grateful for Monster Trucks and spending the time with my nephew and girls. We had an incredible time, not only watching the fun, but great in-depth conversations as well.
Basically, today, I’m grateful for life!
I’m grateful for two beautiful daughters and one on one time spent with them; dinners, movies, and great conversations. I’m grateful for my coworkers, friends, my home away from home. I’m grateful for clear, smooth skies. I’m grateful for taking the time to process my thoughts. And I’m grateful for learning how to love myself. I truly am blessed.
Today I’m grateful to four influential women in my life.
I’m grateful for my mother, who did the best she could with what she knew at the time. It’s hard to believe that this will be the 11th Mother’s Day since her passing. What an interesting ride it would have been had she been around through my recovery. I know she’d been exploring her issues right by my side and I would have loved to watch an inner strength build within her as we both battled our demons from the past. In addition, she would have loved being connected in today’s world of FaceBook, Twitter, texting, mobile phones, and how Country Music has developed into a Country Pop genre. Mom, I will be looking for the beautiful sunset you and your leprechauns have planned to paint this evening. I love you!
I’m grateful for my step-mother, who pushed a father to reconnect with his stubborn, angry, teen son. Her love and persistence allowed me to get to know Daddy before he left this world much too soon. The age old argument about nature vs. nurture is no argument at all. It’s definitely both. With limited exposure growing up, my biological father and I were mirror images of each other, in many ways fighting the same insecure battles and, yet, having the same, off the wall sense of humor. In addition, I was blessed with a little, big sis, who has always thought of me as her brother. I’m so thankful that my step-mother brought our family together.
I’m grateful for my mother-in-law, who took the role as surrogate mom after my mother’s death. Even though my past actions put our family through some very hard times, her unconditional love and support of my recovery means the world to me. Watching her be a grandmother to my two daughters, I learned how to be more present with my girls and how to play. I’m grateful that every Christmas she sends my girls Christmas cards from my mom so they won’t forget their “other” grandma. Mama, you taught me what Love truly means.
And most of all, saving the best till last, I’m grateful for the mother of my two beautiful daughters. It’s easy to take for granted one who does so much, especially when it comes naturally. With my career and through separation and divorce, my former spouse has always put our girls first. In some ways, she lost herself in the process. I’m grateful that she’s learning to find who she is once more, through her new job and her own personal journey of recovery. And I’m thankful that at the same time, she still has the best interest of our girls at heart. Intuitive, aware, loving, and protective, my former spouse is one of the best mother’s my girls could ask for. Some day, they will come to the realization about how lucky they were. May you enjoy the peace and serenity of your camping trip with our girls and your sister’s family this weekend. Have a mimosa, have morning coffee at one of your favorite spots, take our dog on a walk, roast some marshmallows, and have some quiet time to read a book. Let your sister and brother-in-law pamper you. You deserve it. You are deeply loved.
I’m grateful for attending a critical response seminar and learning more about how stress and trauma affects our lives. Listening to others share their stories is both healing for them and allows me to not become so self-centered as I pull myself away from my own struggles to give compassion, empathy, strength, and hope to others.
I’m grateful for a wonderful evening with my girls and roommates enjoying dinner and playing a board game. I’m also grateful that I’ve learned to embrace what my daughters enjoy watching on TV and love to watch them get excited talking about their favorite characters. It was also fun to support their plan to go to bed at 6pm so they could wake up at midnight to watch the season finale of Riverdale making milk shakes and then heading back to bed afterwards. Love that they weren’t sure how to use the blender and instead of giving up, Googled videos to help them figure it out. Resourcefulness at work!
I’m grateful for a fun-filled day celebrating my former spouse’s birthday starting with going out to breakfast, antique and thrift store window shopping, a nap, grabbing the girls early from school for lunch, a delicious fish dinner, followed by the play, The Color Purple, and a late night slice of pizza. She cracked me up by setting up a tent in her guest room for me to crash in since I had to leave for work early the next morning, allowing me the chance to experience the camping I missed with the family the weekend before.
I’m grateful for a well-rounded week!
I’m grateful for another successful year of recurrent training. It doesn’t matter how many times I go through, my stress increases when I’m being quizzed and evaluated. Some of the scenarios we train for are emergencies I only see once each year, and others, are something I’ve never encountered before. This helps me hone my skills and keep me sharp. However, I have to watch the internal critic who’s still a master at putting myself down for being human, making mistakes, and not performing at my own personal standards.
I’m grateful for recovery, because I’ve learned not only how to keep that inner critic at bay, but also how to let things go and to give myself balance during these drills. In the past, I’d do nothing but eat, sleep and study. This year, like last, I continued to work on me by staying connected with friends, exercising, and add some enjoyment to my day. I’m grateful to have seen the Hans Solo movie opening night, Overboard, and Life of the Party while also enjoying a good book this past week. Throw in a baby shower with my coworkers, dinner with good friends, and ending the week watching the final episode of American Idol. This year’s recurrent training was pretty much a non-event.