“This is a wonderful day I have never seen before.”
“For my part, I am almost contented just now, and very thankful. Gratitude is a divine emotion: it fills the heart, but not to bursting; it warms it, but not to fever.”
“Always have an attitude of gratitude.”
Sterling K. Brown
#11 Enthusiasm is my daily exercise.
I treasure the moments of my New Life.
Statement #11 and gratitude go hand in hand; our WFS Program booklet states “To be enthusiastic is to live each day to the fullest. It makes us feel alive and vibrant. It lights up the inner part of our being—we glow, and others respond to this.” Our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. knew and understood how important it is for women in recovery to practice gratitude and treasure moments throughout each day.
Alcohol was a replacement for what was missing in my life yet it never worked. Drinking only took me farther away from what I needed, yet it was not possible to embrace this fact. Only when the emotional pain and drama became unbearable did I realize how my alcohol use was messing up my life.
The beauty of sobriety and Statement #11 is that it uses open direction and is not a far-off concrete goal. Just like any other type of exercise, whether it be walking, biking, or running, there is an element of progress instead of a destination. Some of the most memorable and treasured moments in my New Life are linked to simple awareness and embracing a fleeting point in time. These exquisite moments have nothing special about them except that I participated in them. For example, a colorful leaf or butterfly can stop me in my tracks and genuine enthusiasm fills my heart. I know that the leaf will never fall or the butterfly will not pass the same way again, it’s a special moment and then it’s gone. It can be and feel breathtaking, indeed a treasure. This week, be on the lookout for bursts of enthusiasm in everyday moments.
Here are four ways to engage with the present moment:
1. Practice awareness: Choose a moment to discover sights, sounds, smells, and conversations. What other things can you notice about that moment?
2. Set a timer: Set a timer for each hour, or maybe use the chime of a clock to take 30 to 60 seconds to connect to the moment. Again, notice sights, sounds, etc.
3. Note your response: What is happening to you at that moment? Are you cold? Warm? How fast are you breathing? Do you feel the chair underneath you? Do you feel the sun/wind on your face? What else does your response contain?
4. When it’s gone, it’s gone: While that moment is no more, you have the experience within you now. There is no need to chase after it or regret it, you were present and can now treasure it.
Hi 4C Women,
My dear friend sent me 2 articles about the need to connect with others, even strangers. I was thinking of how I used to interact when grocery shopping, at the checkout, in a doctor’s office, or during social encounters. I had an old cell phone so I didn’t have the internet or email to check out. I would look around and see everyone attached to their phones or having earphones while shopping. Once I thought a shopper was talking to me and realized they were talking to a person on their phone. I was slightly embarrassed and naive. I vowed that I would not be one of those people.
I found that I became that person when I got my new phone. It seemed uncomfortable to try and talk so I started using my phone as a distraction like everyone else. I realize now that those previous moments of connecting with another person were treasured moments. I recently went to a restaurant to pick up food and while waiting, the woman next to me started a conversation. It was brief but brought me back to me how much I missed that unexpected and joyful interaction. I have decided that I am going to go back to the person who reaches out without fear of it not being reciprocated. I will just say to myself, NEXT! I love being around people just as much as some people love being in nature. It feeds my soul, my spirit. During the pandemic, it was Zoom that kept me connected to the group and welcomed new members. It could have been such a lonelier time as I so missed the in-person meetings. Now I am fortunate to have both. I sincerely treasure the time shared with the women in WFS. We understand and respect each other. It’s many treasured moments filled with enthusiasm. I am so blessed.
My neighbor rings my doorbell each time there is a magnificent sunset. We stand together and just stare at the beauty of it. I volunteer at the church office and part of that is providing groceries from our food pantry. I have met and heard so many challenging stories that touch my heart and inspire my compassion for the strength these families possess in such hard times. Our church has had town hall meetings in the last few months. I was amazed at how people felt safe to share their family struggles and know they would not be judged. This is the church that welcomed WFS without question 15 years ago. It is all about acceptance and inclusion. So many moments to treasure.
I love what Karen shared about awareness and knowing that while the moment is gone, the experience remains. A quote from Nancy Cross, “Enthusiasm is a balancer, it sparks life and then renews it when it fades.” I encourage you to think of it in those terms. When enthusiasm fades, renew it with all the wonderful suggestions Karen made, perhaps writing in a gratitude journal as a way to recall treasured moments when natural feelings of sadness, loneliness, disappointment, or regret come along. I’m a big believer in acknowledging authentic feelings. I let them stay a while but if they stay too long, I need a tool to help me remember the positive, joyful times. A grateful journal will do that. Or if you chose a specific Statement at the beginning of the day, at the end of the day write about how it helped or influenced your thoughts and your experiences.
What feeds your enthusiasm?
When is the last time you felt enthusiastic?
What are some of your treasured moments?
Bonded in exploring what enthusiasm means to you and how you recognize treasured moments, Dee
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