The Practice of Gratitude

The practice of gratitude is in the forefront of our minds during Thanksgiving. It may be the only major American holiday focused on giving thanks for all of life’s blessings.

Inner Life and Soul: Musings of Life and What Matters

     In my musings on life and what truly matters in our inner life and soul one of the biggest questions was “Who am I?”  That is what led to my journey to get in touch with who I was. There was a time when I identified as nurse, mom, wife, woman and chauffeur.  But I didn’t really know who “I” was. Everyone gave me an identity that involved my relationship with them. However, when I was alone those things I was identified with didn’t work for me. I gave so much of myself away that I didn’t really know who I was when I was alone or by myself. This knowledge left me empty and longing to start the journey to know myself alone or my inner life and soul without all the labels that society and others put upon me.

     So my journey into my life and inner soul and my identity began. I realized why I felt so alone even in a crowded room. It was because my inner self was alone and lonely. I felt different. I was in a marriage with someone who was an alcoholic. I had two stepchildren with limited relationships and one child of my own from our marriage. Day after day our lives were filled with chaos and discontent. There just didn’t seem to be enough of me to go around. Everyone wanted and needed something from me but I never took any time for myself. Therapists call this a lack of self-care. This lack of self-care left me with a dilemma. How could I care of my inner soul if I didn’t know who I was? There was a good list of self-care attributes from Pinterest.com that I have included below.

Courtesy of www.pinterest.com

     I was not practicing most of what was listed.I did know in my gut when something was wrong and most of the time didn’t do it (#1). I tried to trust my instincts or my gut when I was aware of them (#4). I was not afraid to say “No” when it came to my children although it made me feel guilty when I did. I often said “No” to myself. But I rarely said “No” to my spouse or other adults (#7 ).  I often said “Yes” but probably for the wrong reasons (#8). I was not KIND to myself often putting myself down for what I did or said (#9). I was not able to let go of what I couldn’t control…my alcoholic and the chaos it included (#10). I was definitely a people pleaser (#3). I often spoke negatively about myself to others and in my head (#5). I was not able to say “exactly” what I meant (#2). I had given up on my dreams so long ago that I couldn’t remember what they were (#6). I LOVED or at least felt like I did but it didn’t always feel like love (#12). And oh the drama in my life and the negativity were in abundance (#11). So I began daily to concentrate on this list and tried to practice these steps daily. I wasn’t perfect at this but I slowly began to care for myself becoming more positive with less negativity and drama. Practice does make perfect and today I stay in the present rather than the past or future, I like being in the “now”. Life is simpler that way.

     As you look at your life and inner soul today how are you at your self-care and knowing who you are? Are you able to stay “present” in your life and know what really matters? If not, know that with some knowledge, support and love for yourself that you can begin to practice living life the way it is meant to be lived. In an article written recently in Tiny Buddha ,”Simple Reminders to Focus on What Matters in Life” by  , she reminds us to make time count by staying in the present; choosing to be happy now; loving more deeply and believing in miracles. You can be that “miracle”. Have the courage to change what you can control (yourself) and practice what Maya Angelo said…”If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” It is possible to change by paying attention to your inner soul. You can do it. I know you can because I did.

…Susan

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