Tuesday 21 March 2017

Day 20. The gratitude solution

Awakening the power of gratitude and appreciation

Be grateful for what you have and you will get more....these were the words that my nana would always say when i felt like i was missing out on something. There was even FOMO way back last century. So how does gratitude fit into this journey? Well it comes down to one simple state of being.....that of happiness.

I always find it amazing that as humans we start off as fresh little beings generally not encumbered by anything and we are happy, live in wonder, play, laugh and feel fearless, and then real life happens and over time our spirit and happiness can get eroded away.  What if it's possible to reconnect with your inner peace and happiness, by practicing one simple act that changes your focus, your outlook and your wellbeing.  Seems that gratitude may be one of those things that can have a real profound effect on making an internal shift from a negative to a positive outlook.
I remember a short time after i arrived in melbourne i was out exploring and took a photo in the gardens at south melbourne - it was September 2015. Someone saw the photo and commented on how happy and peaceful i looked. Have you ever had one of those days where it's just like wow - i feel amazing.  I had just moved into my apartment, didn't have any friends, i was learning my new job, everything was so new to me and i recall as clear as day, waking up that morning and laying in bed looking out the window and feeling an incredible feeling of gratitude. The life i had transitioned out of was continuing to close and the new life was embracing me. All of the loss, hurt, negative and hard stuff i had been through didn't matter, I was just full of gratitude - both being and feeling.
So how does this relate to the journey of being alcohol free?  There's a belief that people can't be happy without alcohol in their life. Gratitude has an amazing way of keeping you present and when you are present you are actually living and appreciating what you have rather than what you think you don't have or what you think it is you need or want. You are happy just being.

Even though my journey into being alcohol free is very very short, the happiness i feel and the freedom i am feeling is so liberting. I don't feel chained to the end of day whistle that is "great, i can get home and have a bottomless glass of wine'. I am grateful about that, because i am feeling amazing, have more energy, use my time differently and i am feeling more peaceful and empowered. Even though i have had some feelings, like i want to have a glass of wine in the evening, they are just feelings.  My reality is very different.

Our theme today is gratitude, a key to adjust our energy, passion and eagerness for the day or time ahead. We learnt that by developing gratitude, our feelings of negativity and resentment start to fade - we can't have regret and be focussed on what is next at the same time.  We can be 25% happier by practicing gratitude and reap the benefits of this, such as more energy, better self-esteem and ability to handle challenges better.  Our gratitude will attract further things into our life and as hard as it may seem, being grateful for events both good and bad will make such a difference and finally, we were reminded to be grateful and appreciative of what we have, and to continue to work on creating the experiences we want for the future.

Here's our beautiful action items for today and my gratitude wall continues to grow.
Action 1. Write 25 thing you are grateful for.
25 things - holy moly. We had to list 25 things with the premise that if this was really difficult, then there probably a strong need for a gratitude practice.  There was no right or wrong things, it was more about building the capability of being grateful  Here are some of mine.

I was grateful:
for finding the book the cost me $2 in an opshop and has just given me so much to consider
for being alive
for my coffee machine
my family and friends
having a great job
to have fresh clean water and good food
to be alive
to live in this beautiful city
for having peace in my life

there are so many things, i could have filled up the rest of my journal.

Action 2. Think of 5 things to be grateful for when you wake
We have to reflect on 5 things and really connect with them. We have to become emotionally invested in these things. They can be the same 5 or different ones each day but the intent is to really build the experience of waking up to a positive mindset to take us into the day and get the best out of it.

Action 3. Appreciate someone in person, by phone or email
I unwittingly completed this action before i read the chapter.  I took time to really share in person how much i appreciated and valued a friendship i have with someone who was instrumental in me making great change in my life. This person believed in me and saw something in me beyond anything i could ever have imagined that i was capable of and helped me unearth it.  Along with being an incredible role model in so many ways, he's an amazing man, husband, father, friend and human being. I needed to let that person know how special him and his beautiful family were.

Having the courage to share with another person how much they mean to you or how they have made a difference, shouldn't be frightening if it comes from the heart with genuine and authentic meaning. People will appreciate it, they may not expect it, but deep down, i feel confident that it will make someone else feel like you care and they are valued.

Here's how day 20 felt.
I woke up feeling amazing
Met a friend at a bar in Southbank.  I happily drank soda water and watched the world go by and went wow, i am looking forward to waking up feeling fresh tomorrow and i have been contributing to my own bank account rather than someone else's.  It didn't even enter my thoughts to have a drink. It actually felt gross just thinking about the taste.
And alcohol didn't enter my thoughts at all during the rest of the night.

Day 20 - wow. Check out that counter...Nearly 2 dozen bottles of wine and i haven't even thought about adding in any extra drinks that i may have had when i have been out socialising.

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