Gratitude in a Pandemic

It’s always helpful to practice gratitude; but it’s especially helpful to look at what you’re grateful for in times when fear and loneliness are so prevalent.  I have slowly been reading a book called No Mud, No Lotus by Thich Nhat Hanh. Hanh is a well known Buddhist Zen teacher, and his book has many great opportunities for quotes, but this passage in particular is helpful for our current limited experiences.  While he uses the word happiness, you can easily put gratitude in as well.

“We get in touch with the wonderful elements of life in and around us…When you walk it can be a celebration.  When you breathe with awareness, it’s to celebrate. When we sit like that, we are celebrating; we’re celebrating life.”

Thich Nhat Hanh in No Mud, No Lotus

In the spirit of gratitude and seeing the happiness in life, below is a list of things I am grateful for:

  • I have a roof over my head (that isn’t leaking anymore!)
  • I have food in my kitchen.
  • I have a husband whom I love and laugh with every day.
  • I have two cats that make my heart happy when I see them.
  • Seamus (my cat) is in a drug trial for a new kidney medication, and it’s been a wonderful experience.
    • The vet and he get along, and she truly cares about him.  Even when we are not there for something she needs to see him for, she sneaks in for a moment to say hi to him.
    • The vet techs all know him well and he likes them too.
    • We are able to afford his special diet and medications.
    • I am grateful for every day I get to spend with him since we were told he very likely wouldn’t survive his acute kidney disease flare back in June.
  • We live in a safe part of the city.
  • My body is healthy enough that I have been able to start exercising again now that I have time.
  • I am able to afford my multitude of medications so that I can stay mentally well.
  • My therapist is offering appointments through telehealth now so I haven’t had to have a disturbance in therapy.
  • My psychiatrist is also now seeing patients through telehealth, so my medications won’t be disturbed.
  • I have fresh air to breathe and clean water to drink.
  • I have somehow been able to keep my spirits up so far, despite the fear those around me feel.
  • My husband and I have plenty of board games to play.
  • We also have many streaming services to watch.
  • We have enough space in our house to have alone time on occasion.
  • There’s a squirrel who hangs out in the tree right outside the window where I work in the house; it’s great fun to watch her.
  • I borrowed library books before they closed for COVID-19 safety.
  • I am so grateful that I am sober.  If I were still drinking I would be in an absolute panic every day, worried that we would run out of alcohol and the liquor stores would be forced to close.
  • My neighborhood is beautiful to walk through, including a nearby public garden.

My list could go on, and is not in any particular order.  In summary, I think it’s important to feel grateful for the things we do have.  If I see my cats do something funny, I smile and think how lucky I am to have them in my life. 

When I get into bed for a nap, I smile and think how grateful I am to have the ability to lay in a warm and comfy bed to take a nap.

I challenge you to make a list. Are you grateful you have had the same partner for 40+ years?  Are you grateful to your TV for taking your mind off what is causing you stress? I would love to read some of the things you are grateful for, so please let me know in the comments or by emailing me at dontstigmame at gmail.com

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