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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Gratitude week comes to a close.

GRATITUDE - warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received; very thankful.[Gratitude Week Starts here. Click for this week's Bliss Initiatives]

Gratitude week has come to a close but I can see as I noted in my first post of the week, it truly is the linchpin for the rest of my Bliss Virtues. It is all about attention for me. As I made my way through this week I became increasingly more aware that I rarely pay attention to all the wonderful gifts around me. Please don't get me wrong, I am a generally aware and happy person so I'm not entirely oblivious to the good stuff in my life. It is just that I find it difficult to actually pause and allow the gratitude to well up. I'm not sure what my problem with it is. Something perhaps to do with an underlining fear that if I pay too close attention it just might disappear.

Now I realize that this underlying fear is in direct contrast to anything, everything I have learned about gratitude but yet it is still there. Actually, some of my best access to feeling grateful comes when I think horrific thoughts. What if something happened to Rob or Jessie? I can feel the tears well up even as I type, I can't imagine it (or is it that I CAN all too graphically?) but then immediately on top of these thoughts comes the gratitude. I can talk myself back from the brink of my self induced despair when I consider this: even if something horrific happened I would count myself as one of the luckiest people on the planet to have had the chance to be Rob's wife, Jessie's mom for any length of time.

I am not sure how it happened but I have somehow wired gratitude up with worry and until this very moment I think that I felt this is somehow wrong. I don't want to be worried about losing anything so it has been easier to avoid the gratitude. I have been trying to use thank yous and pocket charms as my cue for being more grateful but it wasn't really working. It wasn't working because I haven't been interested in acknowledging the worry that has accompanied it.

Certainly this worry, when taken to extremes is not very rational but when taken lightly can actually provide the impetus for making a difference. When I am grateful that Jessie is generally so healthy, its partner worry that she could get sick or hurt can guide me towards making good decisions about helmets, swim lessons and helping her develop the habit to wash her hands. When I am grateful that I get to live in this great country the accomplice worry that it is in decline can spur me on to vote, volunteer and write my government representatives. When I am grateful about being alive on earth in this century and not another, my affiliate concern that the planet is dying, will encourage me to recycle, reduce waste and support green companies.

The very beast that has kept me from feeling the full breadth of gratitude makes it more likely that I will do more and find more to be grateful about. The fear that I have not been acknowledging is actually the cue for which I have been looking! When I feel fear, worry or concern this is where my presence can make the biggest difference. This is exciting! I feel like gratitude, once confined can actually breath a bit. I am definitely looking forward to its 13 week simmer here in my game. Next time around I'm taking the roof off for sure! This week, adjusted for my last minute revelation, I give myself a 6.

Next Post: Moxie week begins

My 13 bliss virtues: joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, surprise
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Ben Franklin's 13 Virtues

  • 1. TEMPERANCE - Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
  • 2. SILENCE - Speak not what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
  • 3. ORDER - Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
  • 4. RESOLUTION - Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
  • 5. FRUGALITY - Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e. waste nothing.
  • 6. INDUSTRY - Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
  • 7. SINCERITY - Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and if you speak, speak accordingly.
  • 8. JUSTICE - Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  • 9. MODERATION - Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  • 10. CLEANLINESS - Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths or habitation.
  • 11. TRANQUILITY - Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  • 12. CHASTITY - Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or to the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.
  • 13. HUMILITY - Imitate Jesus and Socrates.


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