Every morning I wake up and contemplate my gratitudes. Often it is in contradiction to how I feel and I use the first moments of the day to reorient my attitude. It would be much easier to wallow in the negative, the losses, the current crappy situation I have landed in. But I know the negative can rule my life. I can live in the down and depressed. Anger on the other hand is an emotion that I have a hard time accessing. So if I can even be grateful for the anger in my life, perhaps I can harness some of the energy that’s caught up within that emotion.
This morning’s meditation came back with plenty of the negative aspects of my current situation, as it does many mornings.
- I’m homeless (my last relationship included her house)
- I’m alone (as it should be, I’m refinding my solo-self)
- I’m working a shit job (it’s the most fun I’ve had at work, but it won’t pay my car payment)
- My ex-wife gets half of everything I earn, after taxes, so my effective hourly rate is somewhere in the $5 – $6 hr range.
- I feel the frustration of the pennilessness every day.
- I no longer see my kids every other weekend, I don’t have rooms for them, so I see them “as I can make dates with them” and with teenagers that’s a challenging goal
And somehow I feel entitled to more. I should have a job that utilizes my 15 year career and college degree. I should have rooms for my kids, though things are a lot easier on all of us now that we’re not switching every other weekend. I would love a relationship, an opportunity to be building again towards the future. And I’d really be happy to reach some arrangement with my ex-wife that takes the impossible financial burden off my daily life and ties the payoff to the sale of a piece of property that I inherited. But that’s not how things work. We go through hard times, we survive, and we come out the other side changed. And I think we either come out smarter, leaner, and more optimistic, or we break and become bitter. It is through the active reframing of my life, with positive affirmations and prayers, that I am changing my attitude about my situation.
- I am grateful that my kids are healthy and doing well in school and life.
- I am grateful that my ex-wife has maintained gainful employment since the divorce.
- I am grateful that my mom (humbling disclosure) still has an extra room that I inhabit.
- I am grateful that I am able to maintain joy in my current job.
- I am grateful that I have the financial help of my mom, as strained and emasculating as that is.
- I’m grateful that I am super healthy and getting plenty of sleep.
- I’m grateful that my creative energy is strong and my inspiration is growing.
Today, I have everything I need. I may not be close to having everything I want. But my basics (food, shelter, safety, community) are pretty well covered. If I can keep my attitude at the proper trajectory I can see that my current state is temporary and my prospects are ever-growing and improving. I have to believe that. I have to believe that I can find a high-tech marketing job as an “older worker.” I have to believe that I will grow out of this phase of my life back into the self-sufficient adult that I thought I was, that I have been, that I will be again. It’s like a prayer, really, these affirmations. I keep repeating my thankfulness. I keep appreciating what I have. I keep letting go of my expectations and immediate gratifications. And I am learning, everyday, to be closer to living in the moment. I am appreciating my current life, my current job, my current loneliness. And sitting in this place, I am also learning to become more conscious, more compassionate, and more humble about what I have vs. what I want.
Just for today, I will rise above it.
The Off Parent
image: man in stress, creative commons usage