Feeling grateful to be alive… not something I would have said before

My Dad and I

I woke up this morning with a deep sense of satisfaction and appreciation. Being grateful to be alive is NOT something I’ve ever FULLY felt before.

When I was pretty young, I remember crying in my bed, feeling tormented and wondering what my purpose was and why I was alive. I had my share of suicidal thoughts while growing up.

When I first got into spirituality, there was all this talk about leaving this life and all its problems behind and ascending into a new reality. I thought this was the way to happiness.

For most of my life, I lived in fear… putting a lot of time and energy into striving for success, accumulating more money, giving to others, hiding what I believed was wrong about me, and avoiding discomfort so that I could feel loved, valued and safe. But no matter how much I achieved and accomplished, no matter how much I hid and avoided discomfort, my capacity to feel safe, loved, and valued hardly increased.

But over the last year, I’ve felt the greatest amount of change and it happened in a way that I never thought was possible. I gave up the fight. I let go of trying to control and make things happen. I stopped striving and pushing myself. I’m remembering to appreciate every aspect of me and my life – past and present. I practiced letting go of my internal struggles. As I surrendered and let the Divine take the lead, I’ve been experiencing a beautiful unfoldment. Through this process, I’m gaining the trust and experience that the security and love I sought externally for most of my life is right here through my connection.  All of this is what the process of Unconditional Receiving is about. It’s so that we can have a joyful, rich experience of Self.

As I deepen my trust and connection, I feel freer to enjoy myself and appreciate everything that life is presenting to me. I’m exploring new hobbies like photography. I realized that I actually like myself. And I discovered that I actually enjoy performing.

Today, what’s most present is a feeling of appreciation for having warm cozy clothes to wear as the weather gets colder. I also love having hot water to bathe in.

I’m also appreciating family more than ever. My dad has been in the hospital for over a week now. His gallbladder was infected and it was compromising so much. At one point, he lost his ability to speak coherently. It was definitely scary. With him in Chicago and me, here in Boston, my family kept me updated on his condition. They rallied together to make sure my dad was taken care of. Even though my dad and I have had our differences, I feel closer to him more than ever. And while I believe we would prefer to not have these crises in life, they do add richness and help us value what is really important. (My dad is recovering slowly but sounds 100% better. Seems like things are moving in the right direction. The picture above is him and I – probably 40 years ago!)

While this was going on, I still found moments to laugh, play and dance. I really appreciate this awareness because sometimes it can feel like it’s wrong to enjoy yourself when others are suffering. But I’ve also become aware that I’m no good to anyone else if I believe that I need to suffer as a form of expressing my love for someone else who is suffering.

** How about you? What’s present for you and what are you appreciating? I’d love to hear. Message me.

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