Flexibility, Running, & the Sun

I’m grateful for the flexibility and the mobility that my job affords me which means I don’t have to stress about how to manage my son’s time off school over the holidays.

I plan to go for a run this afternoon and I’m grateful for the ability to run. Running helps me calm my monkey mind.

We’ve had a lot of overcast days lately, but the sun has graced us with its warm rays today. I’m grateful for the sun which is the source of all energy in our portion of the universe.

Sharing the Load, Permission to Feel, & Impermanence

I’ve struggled to come up with three things to post today. It’s one of those days when the weight of the world feels heavy on my shoulders. I am grateful to know that I don’t have to shoulder that weight alone.

I’ve learned over the years that it’s okay to not be okay and to give myself permission to feel the things I feel without judgement. I am grateful to the teachers who have taught me this lesson in life.

Everything in the universe is impermanent. The only constant is change. Things won’t be like they are right now forever and I am oh so grateful for that.

Hiding in Plain Sight

I’m stealthy. I’ve always been good at keeping secrets — hiding things. I hid my feelings of guilt and shame about my father’s suicide when I was a kid by telling people all about it as soon as I got comfortable with them. If I told them the story quickly, and without a lot of feelings, then they would think I was over it — that I’d made peace with it. I told people that it was something that had happened, matter of factly, like it was as insignificant as what I’d had for breakfast.

I kept the fact that I was smoking hidden from my mother for five years. It was easy since I was in college and rarely home. When I was home for the summer, I made sure that I had a restaurant job that required me to work nights so that I could sleep late, leave the house early, and start work just before the dinner rush. That made it easy to conceal things, like smoking — and drinking. I told her that the reason my clothes stunk was because my roommate, Geoff, was a smoker — that was true, but it was only part of the truth.

I’ve been writing these gratitude posts for a little over a month. It’s a solid practice and it has helped me immensely. But it’s also a cover-up. If you read my gratitude posts it looks like I’ve got the world by the tail. If I don’t write about the challenges that I am facing, then you can’t know about them. And the truth is that things are fucking challenging right now. Just as challenging as they were back in November when I wrote this post.

I’m not sleeping well — waking up in the early morning and sometimes not being able to get back to sleep. I’m sometimes waking up because of dreams, sometimes because I’m in a cold sweat, and sometimes because I’ve been grinding my teeth so hard that the pain wakes me. I have been walking through life gritting my teeth subconsciously. I go to bed every night with aching teeth.

I started taking a beta blocker last week to try to help with the anxiety. Some days it seems to be helping. Others not so much.

At my last therapy appointment, I put on such a good act that my therapist said, “things seem to be going really well.” And I agreed with her. But it wasn’t conscious deceit. I didn’t even realize I was doing it. I was actually convinced the things really were going well. It was only after a few days that I realized I had been hiding this so well.

Sometimes, just putting my truth out there is what I need to do. It’s not always pretty. Sometimes it’s messy, because life is messy and sometimes not pretty.

Winter Solstice, Peanut the Cat, & an Automated Butcher Shop

We are almost to the winter solstice, which is cause for celebration. I am grateful that there will gradually be more daylight everyday starting in two days.

It’s grey today, but not too cold. I got out for a walk with my son and we spoke with the woman who’s cat my son has loved forever. She told us that Peanut died a few weeks ago but that he lived to be twenty years old! I’m grateful for the memories of my son sitting in the middle of the street petting Peanut.

I finally cooked the bacon I bought from a 24 hour automated butcher shop in Stone Ridge, NY over Thanksgiving. It was delicious and I am grateful to have gotten a single piece while my family devoured the rest.

Down Sweaters & Dying Batteries

I took a walk this morning and it was pretty darn cold. I’m grateful for my down sweater which kept me warm.

My wife called me this afternoon because the car wouldn’t start. I’m grateful that my dad taught me how to properly use jumper cables so I could get the car started and back home.

Corollary to the last one, I’m also grateful he taught me how to change a car’s battery so I can do it myself later today or tomorrow and save time and a few dollars.

A Meeting, Values, & DIGEX

What a week it’s been. I am grateful that the work week is coming to an end and that my last meeting was with like-minded folks discussing topics of community, vulnerability, and gratitude.

My workplace has five values: Disruption, Execution, Collaboration, Integrity, and Inclusion. These are lofty values, but the miracle is that I see them being lived by people at every level in the company on a daily basis. I’m grateful for these values and the people who live by them in my workplace.

I was listening to the podcast Go for Broke last night and the episode was about Netscape Navigator. I was instantly transported back to a magical time in my career when the Internet was still young and I was working at an ISP and web-hosting company known as DIGEX. I am grateful for those early years where I learned so much about technology, suffered trials and tribulations, and grew so quickly as we all tried to merge onto the Information Super Highway.

Memories, Feeling Better, & Carrying the Message

We lost my Uncle Danny yesterday and while it’s sad that he’s gone, I’m grateful that one of my earliest memories from childhood was him playing with me at the playground. He showed me how to do a “skin-the-cat” on the rings. I was perhaps 3 or 4 at the most.

My head cold seems to be in retreat and I’m grateful to be starting to feel better. With the exception of going to the drug store, I haven’t left the house all week. I may get out for a much needed walk today.

Yesterday, I got a text message from a man who I’ve never met in person, but with whom I’ve had a few conversations. He is a friend of a friend, and last year I took a call from him to talk about his drinking problems. He wanted to let me know that yesterday was his 1 year sobriety anniversary. It was truly the best text message of 2020. I’m grateful that I was able to help another person find this path of recovery.

A Reminder, Some Relief, & a Conversation with a Friend

Lately, for a variety of reasons, coming up with three things I’m grateful for has been a bit of a challenge. I was reading one of my books of reflections and I was reminded that life is what we make of it. Often, we must look for the light. That’s what this practice is all about. I’m grateful for the reminder.

My son had a migraine last night. It is so painful to watch him in the throws of a migraine because I am powerless to fix it. All I can do is try to comfort him and clean up when he invariably throws up. I am grateful that over night this passed and that this morning he came down and was pain free.

I spent close to an hour talking with my friend who had the surgery last week this morning and it was wonderful to hear his voice and to talk about how he is doing. I am grateful for his healing and our friendship.

Telemedicine, Warmth, & an Old Friend

I had a telemedicine appointment today to talk about the fact that I’ve been gritting my teeth so hard at night that I’m waking myself up. I am grateful for the technology that made it possible for me to get the care I needed safely from my own home.

It’s cold outside, so cold that we had some ice in places where water has pooled from the recent rain. I’m grateful for warm clothes and central heat. I know that others don’t always have these necessities.

One of my best friends in the world had her birthday yesterday and even though I couldn’t be with her, I was able to let her know I was thinking of her. We’ve had a lot of great times over the last 28 years and I’m grateful to have her and her family in my life.