When I was new to the 12 step rooms, trying to get sober and stay that way, it was suggested that I start praying and meditating. This seemed ridiculous to me because I figured if there was a God, he wasn’t too happy with me. I had grown up with a lot of religion but had never felt the benefits others seemed to get from it, in fact to the contrary, I was really turned off by the whole thing.
Then I heard something helpful and intriguing, “Gratitude is the sincerest form of prayer”.
It was suggested to me that I start with gratitude, start acknowledging the things I felt grateful about on a daily basis. I liked that, I could work with that. I started a daily practice of listing ten things I was grateful for and why.
At first it was hard. This “gratitude thing” was a foreign concept to me. Up until then I had spent a lot of time thinking of everything that had gone wrong, how wrong others had treated me and how hard my life seemed to be. It was hard, I had a lot of problems, most of them of my own creation, although I didn’t see it that way at the time.
Something happened along the way, it got easier. I started actually feeling gratitude, deeply. Grateful for my life, my survival and eventually I got in touch with gratitude for my addiction.
When I first heard someone say they were grateful for their sobriety, I said “yes” me too. What a gift it is to be free from hell. Then I heard someone say they were grateful for their addiction and they started naming off all the reasons why. This shocked me at first and I thought it was hype but then over time I started to relate. Would I be the strong woman I had become or would I have the rich spiritual life I have today if It had not been for my addiction? It’s all in how I looked at it, the meaning I give it.
Gratitude is the opposite of resentment. Resentment and self-pity breed unhappiness and turn on the “repel field”. The practice of gratitude turns on the “positive attraction field “ because what we focus on expands.
People who complain all the time seem to find more things to complain about.
People who acknowledge gifts and blessings tend to experience more of the good things in life.
The good news is that we all get to choose where we place our focus. Our attitude really is up to us.
So when I Look for the “Good” I am “Looking for the God” in any situation. When ask myself questions like, What’s good about this? Or Where is the gift in this situation, I am practicing an attitude of gratitude. These questions help me see a more complete picture. This doesn’t mean I ignore the challenges or tragedies, I do not advocate pretending everything is OK when it is not. In fact magical thinking can be a problem in and of itself. What I am encouraging, is to make sure to acknowledge that life is a gift no matter what is happening at present and that it is happening for us not to us.
We are powerless over many things in life but what we choose to focus on is not one of them.
Taking responsibility for the choice of what we focus on at any given moment is one of the most powerful things we can do and no one can take that power away from you.