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!