“The whole process of mental adjustment and atonement can be summed up in one word, gratitude.”  ~Wallace Wattles

“I never met a bitter person who was thankful. Or a thankful person who was bitter.” ~Nick Vujicic

Gratitude for everything is everything. The game changer is in the art of finding -however minuscule or hidden – that which is worthy (or even potentially worthy) of gratitude in the midst of the crappy condition or circumstance. Agreed it is sometimes a bit of a stretch but every situation has it – it’s up to me to find it if I want to come out on top as opposed to letting the situation bury me.

Not to deny or sugar coat anything but my ability to unravel the thread of gratitude and clearly identify it will determine how I feel, and therefore what I experience.

Most every week I attend an intimate meeting populated solely (soul-ly?) by women in recovery. One woman appeared to be a little shaky and lip-quivery last week as we spoke our names around the table as the meeting opened. She apologized for her tears and shaky voice, said she’d had rough day. Soon we learned why.

“My husband had a stroke today, not a big one; he’s out of ICU; he’s ok but…” and her tears came. A room full of hearts and souls opened and melted into a mosaic of love and a jumble of other emotions those of us in recovery are learning to feel more deeply and deal with more healthily.  

She concluded her account of the event with a list of the things she was grateful for: Things like their health insurance allowing his hospital stay; for his nurse; that this event will start into motion some of the lifestyle changes they had been talking and fighting about for years; grateful that it was only a small stroke and he was already able to speak and be understood… and oh yeah, grateful that she could stay sober through the crisis and be a support for him and the family… and for herself. By this point her voice sounded stable and strong, however others in the room were sniffing and blubbering.

It’s easy to have a wave of gratitude during a happy, warm family moment, or when a group of like-minded friends gather together to eat, drink, and laugh. Not so easy when a loved one falls ill, or the job goes away, or someone walks out. 
“Pain is mandatory; suffering is optional,” someone said the other day. Maybe lots of people say that – I’d never heard it articulated like that before, or maybe I just “got it” at last. What a powerful truth.

Pain is part of life’s program – it shapes us, and gives us depth, strength, and awareness. Gratitude releases the need for suffering.

I am so grateful to hear that today. Now to put it into practice…

1. What event from the past that seemed like a calamity at first can you recall that ended up being worthy of gratitude?

2. What unpleasant event, occurrence, or situation is going on today that would shift by unraveling the thread of gratitude from the prevailing emotional fabric?

In gratitude, harmony and support,



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