A Gratitude Journal Page on Thanksgiving

Cultivating a thankful attitude can be a challenge with bipolar disorder.  The illness tends to shun the finer energies of love, compassion, gratitude, forgiveness and acceptance for the heaviest emotions.  It twists truth into lies and reality into gruesome Grimm fairy tales. It takes vigilance to recognize The Dark Voice inside one’s mind, courage to reject the falsehoods it whispers, and superhero strength to open the mind to Light and Life instead.  It takes hard work to foster gratitude.

This Thanksgiving, however, I’m finding it easy to be grateful.  I may be uncomfortable and limited from my recent surgery, but the tumor the surgeon removed was benign, and I can look forward to healing completely.  This holiday season comes so soon after my dad’s death that the rest of the family still orbits the gravity well he occupied.  I’m so thankful that we can talk about him without awkwardness, that we can experiment with new rituals to see what might hold meaning for us now, and that we love and support each other as we hold Dad’s absence gently.

These are big blessings in gratitude.  But, I find I’m even more thankful for the moments of grace that dot my bipolar existence.  The sudden release of depression’s grip, an easing of anxiety, the way my thoughts untwist like a coiled rope let loose, a deep breath that tilts my head up to see the stars.  Like the illness itself, these gentle turns come without warning and in spite of anything I might do.  I don’t earn these moments.  They are Grace’s gift, a Mystery.  I can only lift my face to the sun and say, Thank You.

10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cheryl LaVille
    Nov 25, 2011 @ 08:09:31

    This entry makes me grateful. Sometimes I wonder sadly if the open, joyful Sandy I have loved for so many years is inside the disorder still. I am always hopeful that I’ll see snippets of her embracing life. This is her. This is Sandy before, Sandy inside, sneaking out when the disorder is napping. I am grateful for the days of gratitude when she raises her face to the sun. All of her, I am grateful for–the lessons she’s taught me in these forty years. All of her, I love. But the grateful piece, the glowing piece, the “yes to life” piece–I adore her!!
    Come out and play for awhile.


  2. Cheryl LaVille
    Nov 25, 2011 @ 08:10:24

    I LoVE this art piece!


  3. Kitty
    Nov 25, 2011 @ 12:36:31

    Speaking of Gratitude… I’m so Grateful that you are my friend.


  4. Kathryn McCullough
    Nov 26, 2011 @ 09:26:16

    I too am grateful for those moments of symptom relief–for the opportunity to breathe deeply from them. And I’m grateful for you, my friend. Hope you are having a restful weekend.


  5. pegoleg
    Nov 26, 2011 @ 10:40:03

    We don’t earn grace, it is bestowed. I’m glad you have these moments to nourish you, and what a lovely reminder to be thankful.


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