For most of my life – nose deep in addiction – I was anti-religion. At that time, I thought “God must hate me,” or, “I’m being punished and this is my hell.”
I still don’t have a religious affiliation, but today I am deeply deeply spiritual and am filled with gratitude. I feel God’s power (Fate, the Universe, Higher Power, whatever you want to call it) in everything and everyone. It is my belief that the Higher Power of the universe is like the internet. I’m not trying to connect spiritually to the source of God; like the internet isn’t a single object that we connect to… But, God’s power and energy IS IN EVERY LIVING THING and is all energy; as the internet is made up of all computers, millions of miles of wire to connect them, and the frequencies that travel through satellites, space, and time. When I connect to other people, Mother Nature, and my gratitude – I am connected spiritually. I am aware. I am guided. I am provided for. I am awake.
This was one of the first steps in my recovery program. One of the cornerstones is turning our will over to our Higher Power. I am a curious person. So I have experienced almost ever religion you can think of. Church on Sundays and Wednesdays, when I am invited – any denomination. I’ve meditated with Buddhist Monks in their beautifully manicured gardens, after a variety of delectable Thai foods and flavors. I have even visited an Islamic Temple – a very small temple that is rooted in the true belief that we must walk the path that God has laid out. They believed that we must never criticize when someone falls off their path to righteousness, but be there to help guide their brother/sisters back. A beautiful belief.
At every place of worship that I have been part of, I have found a way to connect in my beliefs. A way to connect to my spirituality. A large part of that, for me, is gratitude. It’s such an easy and quick thing to do, in my daily life, but is one of the quickest and most influential ways to center myself.
Every morning, after my morning prayer and daily meditation, I list 5 things that I have gratitude for. Try to write it down, but I’m not perfect and it doesn’t always happen. When I do, I carry it with me. I try to not repeat things, but that is pretty hard to do. Did I mention I’m not perfect? and THAT’S OKAY.
I start my day off in a place of humbleness and thankfulness. Centered and ready to head into my battles with a level and understanding mind. Able to have empathy and solve problems without anger and frustration. There are times, throughout the day, when I feel myself coming out of this place. Off center, getting agitated, or a growing frustration. I think everyone has their moments – but I know where mine lead.
This is when I look over (or reflect) on my gratitude list.
There are times that I pull off to the side of the road, climb a nearby hill or wander a short distance off into the landscape, to watch an amazing sunset. Just sit. Just breath. Just be. I have a link at the bottom of the page to the full collection of photographs from such an adventure. The feature photo of this post came from that collection.
Or, I take a few moments for me. Two to five minutes is all I need – to find SOMETHING beautiful to look at. It can be fluffy cloud in the sky, a flower, or piece of art. It can even be as simple as the way the light reflects off a spoon. I think about the laws of nature and science, that were spun into action by our Higher Power – giving me something joyful to experience. It’s all connected, to me.
Sometimes, I will simply clear my head and open my senses in whatever I’m doing. Love the moment. If I’m writing a work order – I feel the pen in my hand and the thick ink trail slightly drag across the paper. Look at the ink trail that is drying behind me. Listen to the whisk whisk whisk noise as I write and think about the electrical power of my brain that is creating these words. Marvel in the complexity of the human body.
When I am done, I say “Thank you.” I mean it wholly and with deep gratitude – that I am here to experience all that the world has, and equipped to meet my daily challenges.
I am centered. I am at peace. I have found a little piece of joy and happiness and connected with my creator.
To see the full collection of pictures, that were used in the feature image, please click the link below: