"Silent gratitude isn't very much use to anyone." - Gertrude Stein
[This post is the 3rd of 5, written and rewritten last November during my 5th month of being cancer-free. Repetition reinforces my recovery... from cancer... and from addiction.]
Given everything, earning nothing, surely we do not blame a child in swaddling clothes for declaring their wants and needs in cries and tears. But babies grow up and responsibilities are grown into. A temper tantrum could easily evolve into a sense of entitlement years down the road.
I believe gratitude can be taught because I learned all about it in my recovery from alcohol and other drugs.
One of my favorite examples of an "Attitude of Gratitude" is depicted in a favorite scene from the movie, "Zorba the Greek." Here's how it plays out in my memory: Zorba sees an old man planting a seedling for a tree that will surely never bear fruit in the old man's lifetime. Perceiving this, Zorba inquires why the old man even bothered planting it. The old man replies that he chooses to live each day as if he will live forever. Floored, Zorba replies that he has always lived as if he could die at any moment.
These stark contrasts in daily living clearly show how living life "One Day at a Time" may mean vastly different things to different people.
Obviously, I veer closer to the old man's perspective (at this point, by my interpretation, Zorba's world had taken a seismic shift through this experience, and, frankly, this small scene rocked me to my core.)
I am planting this post on the internet today, not knowing how distant in time and place that my planted seed of Gratitude my blossom and flower in a reader's heart [flowering, re-flowering].
In the Rooms of Recovery for Alcoholism and Other Addictions, in time, one will eventually hear something along the lines of "Sobriety is a Gift, Recovery is Earned." I would like to add here that Gratitude is a Two-Way Street, part Gift, part Earned. It is abundance on the smallest and the grandest scale. Gratitude is thriving, being most fully alive, fully present and fully accountable. It is a choice. It is not owed you, but you certainly owe it to yourself.
Entitlement? Those days are long gone for me, gone the way of the horse and buggy. Gratitude, older than the Mystics, Sweet Mystery, Sweet Desire, Eternal. Gratitude is the fulfillment of this very moment, pure being. In Gratitude, there simply is no room for a sense of entitlement.
Recovery, whatever you're recovering from, Cancer, Addiction, Someone Else or Yourself: Entitlement will not free your shackles!
Gratitude is the surest path to follow! Taken from by book, I remind myself (daily, Zorba, daily!) that "nothing matters more than that we remain sober because when we remain sober, everything matters more"!
Ditto on Gratitude!
If and when you feel Entitlement rear its ugly head, rise up, count your blessings! They are numerable, innumerable and infinite!
The whole is truly greater than the sum of all its parts. Cancer, addiction, recovery, joy, peace, hate, war... all are part of the whole of life. I am grateful for the whole of it and work toward changing the parts of it I can that may need to change (invoke "The Serenity Prayer" here).
In the meantime, I plant what seeds of gratitude I may, whether or not I live to see them bloom.
To share our Gratitude is a win/win, most assuredly.
Thank you, Gertrude. You are so right. "Silent gratitude isn't very much use to anyone."