It’s that time of year. We are all stressed with wrapping up end of year projects, wrapping gifts we can’t afford, and planning for 2018. Throw paying bills in on top of that, and life can feel overwhelming. Hell, life feels overwhelming just waking up sometimes. Here is where the perspective comes into play. Here is where the work begins.We hear the word “gratitude” thrown around all the time, especially during the holiday season. The thing is, gratitude is an action. Yes, it is a feeling and state of being, but above all it should involve constant work. It is easy to make a post and say how grateful you are, but are you really?
I’ve had to delete social media apps from my phone during the weekdays, and only make posts when I need to from my computer. When I’m not doing the spiritual work, when I’m not taking the right actions, I let others’ negativity consume me. I compare myself to them. I get in fear about my finances, my future, my past, any and everything I shouldn’t. I don’t even give myself credit for the wins I’ve got, because it doesn’t look like theirs. It all swirls around me until I feel like I can’t breathe. And for what? I’ve heard many people say, “Don’t compare your insides to their outsides.” Nothing could be truer. I’ve also heard, “Don’t compare your beginning to their middle or end.” Also, more relevant than most motivational quotes. But how easily I forget this when I’m caught up in the moment. I have four years of sobriety on December 27th. FOUR YEARS. It is insane to even fathom that amount of time without a drink, smoke, pill, or anything at all to check out.
Four years ago, I would have been too proud to share that with anyone. But I live life differently now, and to be able to do that, I have to be thoroughly honest. There may be someone struggling with an issue that needed to read this, needs to know that they aren’t the only ones. I practice gratitude by being of service. I wake up in the morning and start my day with prayer and meditation. I’m human, so some days, shit happens that prevents it. But most days, I try to make it a priority. It sets the tone for the day. I try to end every night by writing down what I am grateful for that day. It helps keep things in perspective. And in between waking up and going to sleep, I try to make music, figure out how to earn some money, and be of service to someone other than myself. And I’m not talking about the people that have their friends follow them with a camera while they do “charity work”. I’m talking about just simply being the best human you can be for that day.
I answer the phone when people call. I share any knowledge I have that someone may need if they just ask. If you need somewhere to sleep, I’ve got you. If you need a meal, I’ll share. I know that I can never receive a blessing if I don’t give blessings away. Also, I let my past go a long time ago. I let go of the anger, the resentments, the drama. It’s funny how being sober and getting older brings you more enlightenment than you ever imagined. I live my gratitude. All I have is my side of the street, my perspective to offer. Your life is yours, your experiences are yours, and what works for me may not work for you. But if I don’t share what I know, it helps no one. So I shut up and listen when my mentors offer advice. I do this because I am grateful. I say yes when I’m asked to attend a show, even if it takes two hours to get there, because it is important to that artist. I show up on time to every session, even if I’m sick, because I am grateful for the opportunity. And there are tons of you out there who do the same. And thank God for that, because you inspire me! I watched The Defiant Ones all the way through and got super pumped. My whole life, I’ve been told that I jump into things too quickly, I dream too big, I don’t do what I’m supposed to do. I have always felt different and outside of everyone. My brain functions a million miles an hour. And out of a hundred ideas I have a day, one or two may be good. So I run with those. I’m starting to see that some of the most successful people were considered crazy, different, and were often misunderstood. It is nice to feel like you are on the right path for you.
I decided to risk a lot of things, leave my comfort zone, and change my life. I jumped all the way in this year, and I don’t regret one second of it. I’d rather look back and say, “Well, that shit didn’t work out,” rather than “I wish I had done that.” And what inspired this post was realizing I no longer have that Sunday night dread of the coming week. I no longer hate Mondays. I take it day by day, hour by hour, because it is all I can do. And I am beyond grateful for every piece of advice, every meal offered, every album or shirt bought, every encouraging word, every smile because when it all boils down to it, what matters most is how we make others feel. Going into the next few weeks, I wish everyone that spirit of gratitude, and the ability to really put it into action.