Sunday, June 28, 2009

7 Days of Gratitude: Day 4

DrLife: Spiritual practice of the week: For the next 7 days, wake up and write 5 things that you are grateful for BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING ELSE!

It’s beautiful morning.......and I’m on day 4……….

1. I’m grateful for solitude. When my mind is on overload, going out to a movie is not always the answer. Interacting with others just may add to my level of stress. There are times when I need to step out of the world and away from the people in it. Shut myself in for a day and focus on me. During those times I may read, meditate, pray, etc. But whatever I’m doing it’s a process needed to make me better. Even if I decide to just clean, it helps me to clear my mind of any unnecessary or ill feelings. It gives me the opportunity to not worry about anything but to focus on simple things like how to get this stain out of the carpet. Therefore I recognize the beauty in solitude and understand it is not the same as loneliness.

2. I’m grateful for shelter. There was only one time in my life that I didn’t know where I was going to live. Even then it was not because I faced homelessness, but because I refused to stay in a place that I knew was going to bring me a great deal of stress. Therefore after one week, I moved back out of my just built apartment with a pair of railroad tracks staring up at my patio. J I hired movers to put my things on a truck and put it in storage. I spent the next 3 weeks hotel hopping. It almost felt like I was on vacation with as my tour guide, lol. So regardless of the circumstances, I’ve always been blessed with a roof over my head, electricity, water and food.

3. I’m grateful for having a voice. Thinking of the situation above, there are many people who do not have those types of choices or resources. Or who believe they have to take what someone says or does to them because that’s what they have become accustomed to. But that is not the way it must be. There may be times of discomfort my life, but I have a voice. At no time should a person ever feel they must remain silent and accept whatever is told to them if it is not for their own good. If I were unable to speak my mind about my own life than my life would easily become the property of someone else. At that point, what’s the purpose of living?

4. I’m grateful for individuality. I love to see children do their own thing, but within reason of course. No spoiled brats like on ‘The Nanny’. I would be on the 12, 6, and 11 o’clock news if faced with that. LOL. As children, most of us start out trying to be like someone else we idolize. Whether it is our parents or someone we saw on television. As we enter our teens, we want to fit in and become like those around us. That’s when the real struggle begins. We want their popularity, their looks, their style, their girlfriends/boyfriends, etc. Nowadays I believe it’s simply referred to as ‘swag’. But whatever it is, we want it. This in itself, when you pause and think, means we are coveting someone else’s identity. That is not how we are designed. Even identical twins have some characteristics that allows for them to be individuals. It’s easy to see as an adult, but unfortunately many adults are the worse about trying to be like someone else. It took me a minute to figure this out, but I have no desire to be just like the people around me. How boring is that? I can learn nothing from those identical to me. Therefore I’m happy with whom I am and I can only be me.

5. I’m grateful for my spirituality. I am not one to challenge another’s beliefs. When you dismiss another person’s belief system, I think it tears them down versus building them up. There is no real teaching in telling someone how to or not to do something. It must be modeled. It must be lived and shown. Therefore I respect another’s religious practices and ask that they respect my choices. I grew up attending church. I’ve served in a few positions in church as well. I’ve even had the opportunity to be a guest speaker at churches we fellowshipped with. But eventually I learned to not embrace religion, but spirituality. And that lesson has been primarily taught to me by my interaction with reluctant churchgoers. These are not non-believers but people who because of “religious practices” have been turned off to attending church, and in some cases accepting Christianity. I do enjoy attending church service, but I recognize that the building I sit in matters not, as long as I can be spiritually fed. Although my spirituality is based on biblical readings and teachings, what God looks like I do not presume to say. It does not really matter to me, He’s black or white or if the pastor is a woman. The message should be the same regardless of whose mouth it’s uttered from, even if it steps on my toes. That’s where the breakdown occurs. That’s how most people get lost when the person presumed to be given a title by God adds their two cents. That is why we have so many translations. The vessel that God uses can be anyone and it can be for only one time. That often goes unrecognized. However because of the things that I have personally experienced I know that God exist and His Word exist in me. I also acknowledge His Word outside of me. I do not feel lost. I cannot sit high and point out another’s flaws. I can only focus on my own. For another, I can only hope that most of the time, I am a positive influence. Because I recognize that I am not perfect and while living will never reach that status. But I do believe in being a lifelong learner in all areas of my life. Therefore, I’ve moved away from the tradition of sitting somewhere just because it’s what I’ve always done every Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday. So, I go where I can 'intentionally' hear and learn, not just be caught up in the numbers. Today, that just may be :)

Wow, how did I end up here? Hmm, I just might lose someone today. But I also may inspire you to use your voice. So again I ask........what are you grateful for? Until next time......journey light.

Luv, peace, and an abundance of blessings,


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