“Gratitude paints little smiley faces on everything it touches.”
Richelle E. Goodrich
“Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet.”
Thich Nhat Hanh
“Life is a series of thousands of tiny little miracles. Notice them.”
#11 Enthusiasm is my daily exercise.
I treasure the moments of my New Life.
When first starting to use the WFS Statements I thought “How am I supposed to practice Statement #11 when feeling so empty?” Early sobriety felt blank. Like some giant eraser had come along and scrubbed away any feelings, especially excitement or enthusiasm. While I didn’t understand it at the time, this was completely normal. It was like my sober brain and body were rebooting and it simply required a bit of time and a shift in thinking to feel enthusiasm again.
The 4C women on WFS Online talked about how they practiced gratitude, and this became a starting point. After just one sitting of writing down what I felt grateful for, it was amazing to see how much I had taken for granted. Alcohol had prevented me from experiencing a fullness of life but Statement #11 in action had me engaged and eager to learn more.
Soon I began to notice feelings of enthusiasm again, and this was especially noticeable with the little things. Practicing gratitude by listing tangible things, like home, vehicle or treasured possessions got me started and it became easier the more I noticed. Then going deeper, the intangible things came into view like ideas, connections, or simple kindness. Today, experiencing gratitude is a way to treasure life and feel all the feels.
- Begin each day determined to note gratitude. Set a timer each hour to simply note something to be grateful for, even being sober for one-hour counts.
- Write a list of people you know, from casual to long-term. Next, write down something you know about each person. Your neighbor is a dog person. This friend loves the color purple. Maybe that person, you only know their name but nothing else. You are creating a connection to life and this simple exercise demonstrates your ability to concentrate and look for commonality. The more similarities there are the less judgment and the more treasure to be found.
- Practice mindfulness. This takes us into the now where the past and future cannot enter, releasing past guilt or fear of the unknown. The present really is a gift.
- Find patterns. Whether it be in nature, or your own thoughts or behaviors, notice patterns. Recognizing patterns can create comfort and provide insight.
Hi 4C Women,
Karen’s words always inspire me and provide me with new ways to look at the Statements, including Statement #11. I love the idea of creating a list of people I know and what I know about them to feel that strong connection no matter how small. Just thinking of doing that creates enthusiasm in my heart.
I also appreciate being reminded of gratefulness and mindfulness. When I find myself feeling stagnant, I think about what I do have in my life that brings me joy. This past birthday gave me a huge dose of love and gratefulness. I found myself feeling enthusiastic about my connections with people, the lives I have touched, and vice versa. Feeling that was the best gift of all.
Sometimes when I think of enthusiasm, I think of being proactive. That approach pulls me up from that stagnant feeling and helps me focus on what I can do and will do! Along with being proactive, I also try to be patient. Patience has taught me to appreciate the process, to enjoy the moment when it arrives, to be in it fully.
Years ago, I wrote that I thought of enthusiasm as “hope.” When I was drinking, hope didn’t exist. In recovery, I began to look at enthusiasm as sprouts of hope in creating treasured moments in my New Life. Jean Kirkpatrick always said that we have moments of enthusiasm and happiness, we just need to be aware of them. Karen’s suggestions will certainly create that awareness.
Sometimes it’s challenging to get started, especially with writing about enthusiastic/happy/joyful moments. I encourage you to carry a small notebook with you and jot down the treasured moment and be sure to date it. On my birthday, I went to get my favorite cake – ice cream – at Dairy Queen. The young woman behind the counter showed me the cakes and described what was in them. She asked me how old I was and then blushed as she said she was sometimes socially awkward and apologized for being inappropriate. I told her I wasn’t offended at all and that I was 77. She asked if I wanted happy birthday written on it and I decided yes! She brought the cake to me when it was finished and asked if she could give me a hug. It was a spontaneous request and I said yes again! I think she needed that hug perhaps more than me but what she doesn’t know is that she gave me a beautiful moment to treasure.
These are my 5 favorite questions and I usually include them with Statement 11.
- I love the taste of:
- I love the sight of:
- I love the feel of:
- I love the smell of:
- I love the sound of:
Think of any questions you might add. I love the smell of the air after it has rained. Knowing that makes it easier to remember to step outside once the rain has stopped and just breathe in the air.
Bonded in awareness of treasuring the moments of your New Life, Dee
Last day to donate to the Teddy Bear Challenge is Tuesday, June 14! Over $17,000 in matching funds available.