I have a lot to be thankful for.
I find that my conditioned way of seeing the world, my situations, others, and myself, is thusly:
I focus on the fear.
It’s said that everything stems from either fear or love.
This brings to mind the Chinese character for crisis. Coincidentally, I searched my blog to see if I’d spoken on it before, and what do ya know? I have. Three years ago, on Thanksgiving.
I love what this time of year does for me.
I examine myself. I remember myself.
Chinese character for crisis is written with two different characters. Danger and Opportunity.
The way I see life: the danger. I don’t see the opportunity. I don’t feel love, I feel fear. (I don’t mean I don’t feel love, I mean I don’t default to a place of love; serenity and peace. I default to fear; panic and misery, apprehension and doubts.)
Why I do this is no longer my main focus. I’ve picked my past apart and consistently try to see it for what it is. I’ve let go of a lot of resentment. I’m still trying to let go of the bitter cage clamped tight around my rib cage.
But I’m aware it’s there and I’m working on it. That’s the whole point. I can’t undo damage done. Even if it wasn’t my fault, the damage now belongs to me and is my responsibility to work with.
More and more, I’ve been pointing out to myself the love, the opportunity.
But I find the more I work on adopting healthy outlooks and beliefs and faith – the tighter the old me clamps down on my lungs and the more misery life digs up.
So this Thanksgiving, while I struggle with anxiety, panic attacks, and a strange, subtle, and pervasive depression – I want to focus on the love. The opportunity crisis provides me. The things I’m thankful for, of which there are many.
I want to celebrate my success.
Because in some moments, I’m beginning to realize that my changing is a constant success. I may not feel it completely yet, but awareness and hope come before acceptance.
“There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands.”
~ Richard Bach
This Thanksgiving, instead of feeling miserable and self-disgusted because I haven’t reached perfection – I want to focus on picking through my life in a different manner.
I want to find all the positive changes I’ve gone through and lived through and brought to life.
I want to search for all my gratitude and find reasons to be grateful for myself as well as my life outside of myself.
This Thanksgiving, I want to smile because I’ve gained, through a lot of hard work, hope that I can lean on, instead of falling back into fear.
I’ve gained a second job. One I like as opposed to my first job, which just wasn’t for me.
I have an amazing, understanding boss.
My family. Look at the misery we’ve survived and continue to live through. Look at our hidden strength, which I think we often times take for granted. We’re stronger than we realize. Even though right now we mainly feel hurt.
I have new friends. Souls who understand and accept me. We understand our shared struggles, even as we live separate lives.
I finished Blair’s first novel after two years of not writing. I sent out to critique partners. I’m not afraid. What must, is what will come of it.
And can I back up here? I started writing again. My passion and identity as a writer newfound and settled into my bones, my skin, the rushing of blood through my veins. I’ve made writing a priority. Because I’ve become aware of how vital, how important it is to who I am.
I have learned I have the right to say no. I haven’t quite acquired the courage in most cases, but I’m working on that.
I’ve learned that I can say yes when its truth, even if it might hurt a little at first.
I’ve learned that I exist and I have every right to exist. I don’t need to seek validation for my desire, my urge to live a life I can identity as my own.
And mistakes? I can learn from those. I do. It hurts, but I learn. Mainly, I’m learning that everyone makes them and I don’t need to make myself out to be a devil when all I did was forget that I can’t fix others.
My health has gotten worse and I’m just plain confused with my life.
But this pain has taught me something, is still teaching me something.
Just take it one day at a time – one hour at a time if need be, one minute at a time – breathe, and focus on hope.
Maybe my health is also improving. I feel better.
Thanksgiving is such a great reminder.
Even if I forget to remember these new healthy beliefs and behaviors, they’re still here, slowly embedding into my psyche and soul.
There is so much beauty in the world.
And what I focus on, is what I magnify in my day-to-day life.
This Thanksgiving, I challenge you to dig up all the dirt, all the memories, all the tears and smiles and indifference, spread it out, and peer through it. Find what you’re grateful for.
I’m going to attempt the very same.