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Stormy Day

Silent gratitude isn’t very much use to anyone.

~ Gertrude Stein

Start: Today, I had a gratitude adjustment.

We’ve all heard about the horrific events at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut today. I won’t recount or reframe the event, and I’m sure we all have our own thoughts.

I’m going through a “rough patch” in my life right now. It’s personal, I won’t burden you, but the ugly events at Sandy Hook Elementary hypnotized me for a while today, and it was enough to sink in and recalibrate my outlook.

Good Lord — compared to these poor folks in Newtown, Connecticut — these people whose every single moment from this morning on is a waking nightmare — my life is a festival, a feast, a rose garden.

It reminded me to keep gratitude close, and remember it always.

Yes, this is gratitude of the, “I cried because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet” variety. But any gratitude is better than no gratitude at all.

Today I went out for errands. My last stop was at a nearby Wal-Mart (yeah, I shop at Wal-Mart — don’t judge me). I was standing at the end of a very long pharmacy pickup line, and a older woman rolled up just behind me, having to angle her cart so that she wasn’t blocking the aisle. She made an annoyed noise that clued me in that she wanted to engage someone in conversation, someone she didn’t know from Adam (that is, me) and, as I suspected, wanted to vent.

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Freeway at night

    Why is gratitude so important to me? And why do I think it’s important for all of us? Here’s why.

Start: Those of you who have been following me for a while but don’t happen to feel the same passion about gratitude as yours truly, have probably found themselves thinking: boy, this guy has it bad, doesn’t he?

I could certainly think of worse fixations, but I plead guilty as charged. (And I’ll add, you should be so guilty.)

It only seems appropriate that I should explain why I feel so strongly. I’ve touched on it here in a few places, but if you’ve read Evan Hadkin’s interview of me on his blog Living Authentically, (Part One here, Part Two here) you have a big part of the story. But … you don’t have quite all of it.

Here, then, is how I “got” gratitude.

I Am Grateful I am Still Alive

As I’ve noted here previously, it seems clear to me that some people come to recognize gratitude “the hard way,” through what Dr. Morris Massey of the University of Colorado calls a “Significant Emotional Experience,” or an SEE. This is my experience. When it comes to gratitude, the biggest SEE in my life happened one night shortly after midnight, early in 1999.

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