From The Sister:
Recently, Tony called after a tough weekend. He had been isolating himself, feeling frustrated and stuck in his old mental chaos. He had a hard time getting out of it, refusing to engage in things that might help and resigning himself to the struggle. It’s hard for me to see him like that, to know how much he suffers. It was a reminder though, that although we are living much more fulfilling lives than ever before, we do not have a magical pass for endless ease. Our struggles arise from time to time. Sometimes with greater force and persistence than others. In our bodies. Minds. Relationships. In our world.
We can’t always figure out why, but the reason we struggle is far less important than how we respond to it.
Do we fall back on old patterns? Do we close in, shut down, cry out, explode? Do we practice radical self-care, reach for support, or stay in silence for a while? The next step we take is a choice, and taken together, all those small choices we make create our path.
One small, simple, but powerful way through is gratitude. And what a scenery it brings! When you honor and acknowledge not only the easy things we can be thankful for (bountiful food, supportive friends, good health) but also the very small things (finding just enough change for the parking meter or an extra hidden piece of gum on your way to a first date) and the very challenging things (the insult that came your way that was an opportunity for growth or the hard loss that opened up space for something great), you notice things you have never noticed before. And they’re beautiful. You have new regard for a life you took for granted. And the whole universe can start to feel like it’s conspiring to support you.
Gratitude got Tony through this time. A friend and mentor suggested that he write down a daily list of things he is grateful for. Out of that list, comes this.
From The Brother:
I’m grateful to be alive today
I’m grateful to have made it through hard times, through good times
I’m grateful that the gun didn’t go off
All those years ago…
To be vulnerable and to share
I’m grateful for hate that has been replaced with love
For blaming that has been replaced with acknowledgement of self
For giving instead of receiving
To feel compassion instead of resentment
To FEEL hurt, grief, pleasure, sadness, and joy
Tears from pain, tears from laughter
For unity with you and with others
I’m grateful to trade isolation with exploration; to trade inactivity for fitness and health
For words and food
I’m grateful for the sun shining, the earth spinning
The fog rolling in as the waves crash on the beach
The sound and scent of rain, a fire crackling, the silence of falling snow
I’m grateful for the present moment free of past and future, for the time of NOW
For healing and strength; surviving and thriving.
I’m grateful for sharing this journey with the Universe and every living being.
From the tiniest grain of sand at the bottom of the sea to the stars above and the galaxies beyond,