Scraping The Barrel

Gratitude List 19/03/2018

For too long had I not wanted to have a good sincere look at myself. Understandably so, I can’t say I’m proud of my past. It was far easier to forget, deny, surpress and blame others.

Just under a year ago I was encouraged to do an inventory. I was told to honestly and morally scrape the bottom of the barrel. I did. And although I was warned this could be an emotional task, I took each learning curve as a huge positive. I came to believe that my past is a place for reflection and not for residence. I was gathering some tools to help me deal with the roller-coaster that life is. As a good friend regularly suggests, I hopefully have another 40 years to be the best person I can possibly be.

More recently, I have been topping up this work by doing a mini inventory each night. By answering some simple questions, I gain substance to my prayers and focus for the following day. Today I am grateful for….

A guiding hand.

The courage I had to take the initial plunge.


Putting things down on paper by hand. There’s some magic in this.

Being thorough.

The release. No better way of explaining it.

The serenity I get as a result.

The humility.

The tools I am acquiring.

Things I could’ve done better. I can learn from them.

A Certain Awe

Gratitude List 18/03/2018

Today I am grateful for the things I choose to view as miracles. There may well be some science behind each and every one and some are definitely man made. Even these though have a certain awe, a certain wow factor, that to me seem miraculous. Some, for me, can’t be explained.

Miracle of life

Miracle of gravity

Miracle of love

Miracle of grief

Miracle of change

Miracle of recovery

Miracle of forgiveness

Miracle of suns, moons and stars

Miracle of the human body. In fact any species!

Miracle of electricity

Miracle of evolution

Miracle of engineering

Miracle of abstinence

Miracle of faith

Miracle of medicine


Gratitude List 17/03/2018

If I am open-minded and willing I can learn from the people around me. I’m not talking about learning from their mistakes, I’m talking about drawing strength from what they excel at. I used to look at people’s weaknesses with judgement and criticism. I still do sometimes. Over the last year I have tried to look for the positives, to see their inner beauty.

My girlfriend and her love, tolerance, understanding, support, commitment, dedication, work ethic, positivity, acceptance, generosity…

My son for his love, kindness, generosity, his good behaviour, innocence, calmness, courage, resilience, honesty…

My daughter and her love, sweetness, kindness, happiness, innocence, good behaviour, excitement…

This list could get very long indeed. I am very lucky to have a close relationship with my amazing family and have a great network of friends. Every person in my life possesses strengths I can draw upon, even the people I have spent most of my life resenting. How I choose to look at them is up to me.

Two lifetimes in one

Gratitude List 16/03/2018

Excuse the parody…

In contrast to Neo, I don’t remember meeting the mighty Morpheus. I also don’t remember choosing to take the blue pill instead of the red. Even though I have no memory, I must have, because at some point in my late teens I entered my dreamworld. Not the wonderland that Neo and Trinity enjoyed, jumping around with endless possibilities saving the world. But a world of extreme highs and extreme lows. Leaving behind a path of destruction wherever life took me. Thanks to God I found the red pill some twenty years later. From this point on, like the crew of the Nebuchadnezzar, I began to see the world as it truly is. Unlike the shock they got, I was met with a world of beauty, of change, of hope.

A long winded way of saying I no longer look at the world through tinted glasses. But with these new eyes I am truly grateful for…

The beauty of nature

The blueness of the day’s sky

The vastness of the night sky

The sun’s power, the moon’s too

The sound of birds

The sound of running water

The beauty within people

The bond of family

The warmth in touch

The joy of laughter

I did however see the true me as well and there was little beauty to be found. Thanks to God (again) I have taken this positively. It is, without a doubt an opportunity to change, to make amends, a true blessing to live two lifetimes in one.

More and Less

Gratitude List 15/03/2018

As I sat in my car this morning I was feeling a little fearful about the future, feeling a little resentful towards someone and as a result feeling a little low. The key word being ‘little’ because I soon asked myself “what am I worrying about?” I realised I have nothing to worry about compared to others less fortunate and compared to what I’ve had to worry about in the past. Not only have my fears and resentments lessened but other parts of my life have progressed in the right direction over the last year. Today I am grateful for my progression.

I am happier more often.

I am more tolerant of others.

I am less selfish.

I am more responsible with money.

I am more honest.

I am less angry.

I have more self-respect.

I am more present.

I waste less time.

I am more at peace.

I have more hope.

‘More’ or ‘less’ I am improving as a person. I am not perfect, I never will be. But I am progressing, and that I accept is all I can do.

Every step I take…

At work this morning I was filling up the kettle and also a 5 litre bottle we use to save us walking to the kitchen so often (mad I know!) As the water was gushing out of the tap, gratitude suddenly struck me – the availability, the cleanliness, how plentiful it is, how I need it to stay alive! It is so easy for me to go on with my daily life with no thought of how lucky I am.

So, for as long as I remember, I will try to stop and appreciate…

The meals I have. I will try and enjoy each bite.

Each time I use water, whether it be to drink or wash.

The steps I’m taking.

The air I’m breathing.

The things I see, hear, smell, taste, feel.

Material things like my clothes, my phone, my TV, my home, my car.

My friends, family, fellows.

My movements.

My health.

My freedom.

Going forward

Gratitude List 13/03/2018

Today I am grateful for the positive cycle I am currently in. This is not always the case, there are many days where I am going in reverse, slipping into the defects that I am clinging onto. Why am I in a good space at the moment? Simple. I have let go and allowed my ‘self’ to be guided.

For my desire to improve as a person. A desire resulted from some sincere, humbling admissions.

For the positive effects my changes will have on those around me.

For honesty, open-mindedness and willingness. I’d be lost without them.

For the beauty that surrounds me. I just need to stop and take notice. Whether it be nature, people, art or love.

The courage to change (if possible) the cycle when my self-will has taken over or I’m met with one of life’s many obstacles.

The serenity to acceptance the things I cannot change.

The wisdom to know when to apply courage and when to apply acceptance. It feels like a fine line. I have faith that in time it will become clearer.

The time and effort I am currently willing to put in. I definitely get out what I put in.

All the inspiring and motivating literature. Whether it be books, quotes or blogs. They all add to my positivity – only if I take the time to read them.

The knowledge that the serenity I seek is within me.

Some simple daily suggestions that were given to me freely by someone who is also turning his life around.

The growing comfort (lack of awkwardness) I have when I pray or attempt to meditate. I spent 99% of my life not doing either so this was never going to be straightforward. But as I practice, as my humility grows, as I experience the subsequent serenity, it is getting better and I have faith it will continue to do so.

Radio Me

Gratitude List 12/03/2018

This morning, as I do every morning, I woke up tuned into Radio Me. This channel wants ‘me’ to get up when ‘I’ want to, go out into ‘my’ world and run the show the way ‘I’ think it should be run. Thankfully, yesterday was a serene day. A day where I thought of ‘others’, a day where my higher power and I connected, a day that finished with a sincere prayer for ‘others’. And as a result it helped me quickly retune this morning and change the path of my day. I have this opportunity every morning. Some mornings are harder than others. Today I have gratitude for the lessons I have learnt from those more difficult mornings.

The simple notion of ‘I learn from mistakes’.

It is possible to change the direction of my day (my life). If not in the morning, I can do it at any moment of the day.

Some simple daily suggestions given to me freely, that allow ‘me’ to tune into Radio We.

That these simple suggestions have been proven to work for thousands of others.

The first good step. Whether it be prayer, a reading, a gratitude list or doing something for someone else.

That one good step leads to another. A domino effect. A positive cycle.

That I am ready to go out today and be the best person I can possibly be.

That those around me much prefer listening to this new channel.

Choose a beautiful path.