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Day 13: Emerson

Successful people practice gratitude. After all, how we be successful if we aren’t happy and thankful for all life has to offer. Below are five ways to cultivate an “Attitude of Gratitude”:

  1. Write it down. Keep a gratitude journal.  Try it for 30 days. Keep it simple. 
  2. Talk about it. Sharing what you are thankful for isn’t just for Thanksgiving.  Make it a habit to talk about what you are grateful for all year long.
  3. Meditate. Take a break. Close your eyes.  Focus on a spirit of thankfulness.  Who are you thankful for?  Bring the person to mind.
  4. Express. Write someone a note and tell them how you are grateful for them.
  5. Seek it. Forget the negativity –  surround yourself with like kind people that express gratitude as well. It reinforces everything good.

What are you grateful for? Leave a note in the comments below or in the MM Gratitude Journal.

We’re grateful you chose to join us for Dryuary 2019! Now, let’s get serious!


Emerson

I’ve long found that my heart and best thinking is to be found in nature. Even if you’re not a New England hiker like me, I’m pretty sure there’s something for everyone in the wisdom of Ralph Waldo Emerson. As we dig deeper to get the most out of abstaining this month, I hope this guy’s timeless words grab you and help us all get the most out of the commitment we’ve made.

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.

Oh, how many times I’ve wished that this could be done quickly. I can easily think about self-improvement in tiny little chunks, like one day at a time, one small change, one short-term goal. It’s much harder to tackle a bigger goal that takes time, and to find the motivation that runs deeper and can be sustained through the ordinary days when we’re off our guard.

But where do we find the patience for the long-term change? I am channeling the extraordinary gifts that nature can produce only through time, and effort, and slow day-by-day growth. At this time of year in particular, I’m thinking of all the trees that have set their buds already, that simply would not be able to bloom in the spring without this period that feels so long and barren. January feels still, but is actually full of growth and change.

My health and peace of mind depend on sticking with the long and difficult challenge. This is when we really start to grow and change, even if we can’t see it yet…

Every particular in nature, a leaf, a drop, a crystal, a moment of time is related to the whole, and partakes of the perfection of the whole.

Abstaining from drinking sounds so simple on its surface. It’s simply removing one thing from your day, and if you can master the tools of delaying, planning, substituting, and accountability, you’ve got it down. Right?

Well, for a time, removing alcohol was all I needed to think about to go a stretch without it. But eventually I realized that it wasn’t enough to sustain me in the long haul. I needed to go deeper and find the connection to bigger improvements I wanted to make in my life. It had to be about more than just taking away something I liked — it had to be about adding something new that I had missed. So abstaining for me needs to be coupled with a commitment to introspection and more wholistic lifestyle changes. For example, I do best when I am also journaling, exercising, meditating, and going to sleep early. These things all spur me on and make abstaining so much richer and more fulfilling.

Others will have different things that help them stay focused. But at some point, we will be less motivated by the counting those abs days, and will be sustained by digging deeper and getting to know and care for ourselves better.

Tip for this period: Start a list of things that may be improving that are tangential to absing. For example, if Dryuary is getting you to sleep earlier, are you noticing that it’s easier to get up early and exercise? Or perhaps you’re doing less mindless snacking late at night? Are you sharper and more effective at work? Start thinking about these things and keep notes. They are all part of the care you are taking for your whole self!

If the stars should appear but one night every thousand years how man would marvel and stare.

As I start to really sink into abstinence and the richness of my life in sobriety, I realize just how much I’ve been missing. Every. single. day.

Sometimes when I feel a craving coming on a weekend afternoon I literally flee to the woods. I go into a nearby park and just take in the miracle of the rich forest air and the peace of the slow, patient growth of these trees. Even in the dead of winter, they are beating with life and breath, and just waiting to bud anew with the energy they stored over the cold months. Find your refuge, wherever and whatever it is. Marvel and stare and relish it with all your heart. You have a new awareness and consciousness that you did not have before.

I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.

Apparently Emerson, the infinitely quotable genius, actually said this. So I leave you with this. What do you want to share? You have a clearer head and a healthier body already. Your voice is the one that matters now.

Peace and strength to you…

Post Submitted By: Hazel Smith, MM Member 

4 thoughts on “Day 13: Emerson

  1. lisatherese67

    “My health and peace of mind depend on sticking with the long and difficult challenge. This is when we really start to grow and change, even if we can’t see it yet…”
    What a great comparison to nature and patience, like many things in life it is the hard earned that holds most value.
    Thank you Hazel for a wonderful Post!

  2. Kary May Hickey Post author

    I count myself lucky that I get to read all the Dryuary posts before Dryuary starts and then I get to read them all again in Dryuary. I have to say this is one of my favorite posts, if not my favorite post, I guess because I have taken a lot of walks in woods to figure out where I’m supposed to go next on this journey of mine. The woods are where I commune with myself.

    There have been some great new additions to MM’s Gratitude Journal this morning. I am grateful for this quote in Hazel’s post: “If the stars should appear but one night every thousand years how man would marvel and stare.” This morning I went for a walk along the waterfront and watched a spraddle-legged water bird doing his graceless dance as he darted here and there searching for fish. He was my “star” of the day at which to stop and marvel.

  3. Horse Lover

    First, I love this music. I love the space between the notes. Those spaces open up for me to explore, to see what might be.

    Second: “Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” Indeed. Rushing will get us nowhere. Even if we dive deep, that is different from rushing headlong. Take time to listen for the pause between notes, listen to what your heart will say.

    Thank you, Hazel. This essay and this music have touched me more that anything this month.

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