In ancient Sanskrit, the heart chakra is the fourth of seven centers in our body/being and is called Anahata, meaning unstruck or unhurt. This infers that within our heart is a deep spiritual place unscathed by hurt and pain. When the heart chakra is ‘open,’ then love, compassion, and understanding flow freely from and within a person. When this center is closed-off then you are blocked from the spiritual influence of the heart and can become filled with anger, jealousy, fear, and grief. It follows easily that when one feels a sense of gratefulness they are flowing with an open heart. During early recovery, it is so beautiful to witness this natural development within a person and what a contrast to the utter selfishness that had previously defined much of the addictive state.
One of the most meaningful contemplations I like to do, now that I am sober, is to take a few minutes each day and reflect upon the numerous, fortunate aspects of my life. It is so easy to rush this process during the course of our busy lives and not give enough meaningful time to such reflection. I am often amazed when I go to a grocery store, packed with all kinds of fresh food before a holiday like Christmas or New Years and seeing people in such a frantic, often angry state of impatience. Many of us have so much in life and it is easy to forget to be thankful for all we do in fact enjoy. Much of the world is not so fortunate and many go hungry every day. Clearly, when addicted and using or drinking, we easily erase from our minds an appreciation of the most basic things in our life.
In the spirit of the New Year I would like to share some of the things in life that I am now very grateful for. First, this day, January 1st, I am grateful for my unconditional sobriety and another day free from alcohol addiction. Every day I am so very thankful for my wife and our new relationship that has formed since I started my sobriety. I am grateful for her forgiveness and for the complete honesty we now share in our marriage and the wonderful trust she now has in me. Having her presence in my life is profound and I am a lucky man.
I am grateful for the beautiful animals in my life – our rescued felines. I am so very grateful for the new friends and new family my wife and I now have and look forward to sharing so much in the future with those loved ones. Every day I give thanks for the food and water I have to bring into my body and nourish it. I am thankful for having a roof over my head and warmth during the winter months. I am thankful for the clear mind I now possess and the ability of using my mind for good purposes. I am so very grateful for the wonderful, loving people I have met and shared my life with in recovery. I give thanks to the counselors and therapists, especially my own personal therapist, that have given so much to me and have helped me find who I really am and sort through the debris and clutter that had previously filled my life.
When I think of AA, the 12 Steps, the people I have met, the terrific speakers I have heard at meetings, I am beyond grateful. When I utter the Serenity Prayer I give thanks for the wisdom contained is such a few words. I give thanks to Kolmac and their staff for their amazing alcohol and addiction treatment – and, their kindness and warmth. I am grateful for the employment I have and the wonderful people I work with. I am grateful for loving so many different kinds of music. I am grateful for learning the importance of deep breathing and meditation and what a profound affect it has had facilitating my recovery. I am grateful for the continual healing of my body, my organs, and my brain since becoming sober. I am grateful for realizing that love is so much more powerful than hate and that I do not allow the violence in the world to hinder my expressions of love and understanding. Nor, do I allow the negativity of the world to ever alter me from standing firm with my own sobriety. I am very grateful to live in a state of peace and not fear. And, I am so very, very thankful that I live in a country that continues to maintain the hard-fought freedoms we all share. I am grateful for being able to write this blog freely without fear of reprisals from anyone – it is an expression of my right to free speech.
If you do not already practice this mindful reflection of gratefulness, then give it a try. As we begin this New Year 2016, let us celebrate the fortunate aspects of living a clean and sober life. Discovering all that is within us and around us that is truly wonderful and allowing our hearts to open to the profound realization of gratefulness for these things, will continue to set us free in our sobriety. Giving thanks for this day, this moment, this year is a tremendous personal step in our recovery journey. Being grateful and expressing thankfulness for our life, our freedom, the people and animals we share this earth with, is a momentous and rewarding stride towards becoming a loving and at-one human being.
Wishing each of you a very inspired year ahead, as you continue on your journey.