On gratitude

12 Dec

I’ve been listening lately to Life After Death by Damien Echols, read by the author. I had been following his court case for about 10 years, and I was excited when I saw his book available on audible read by him. Guys, it’s so good. He’s poetic and surprisingly beautiful. After 18 years in prison, he talks about his life with so much love and appreciation that I can hardly believe it.

Anyway. This isn’t about why you should read that book (which you totally should), but it’s about how that book has made me think about gratitude. I was driving last night, admiring some Christmas lights and I started thinking about Damien. At first, I was thinking about how unlucky he has been in his life. And then I flipped it to think that I have been very fortunate. I’m not sure which is more appropriate, though.

Am I grateful that I was never wrongly convicted of murder and savagely beaten in prison? You bet! But should that really be my base line? Should it be that Damien’s experience is my neutral and I am lucky? Basically, by being grateful for everything negative that didn’t happen to me, does that put too much of the focus of my life on negativity?

So, how this relates to food… My friend gave me cookies today. I was planning to put them all in the break room at work (hey, everyone else is doing it). Then I thought about the time my friend put into baking those cookies and how proud she was of them and I thought maybe I was being ungrateful. 

That turned into maybe I’m generally not appreciating the opportunities I have in my life lately. At every potluck or party where I pass on someone’s beautiful culinary delights, am I failing to appreciate my good fortune? I have so much abundance available to me when some people have none. Maybe I should stop shirking that and just accept my out-of-shapeness as the marker of a lucky life.

Then I turned it around. I am extraordinarily fortunate to have a job where I can afford pretty much whatever I want at my local supermarket. By that token, I can follow whichever diet I think is best for me. Deciding to eat any food that is put in front of me would mean not fully appreciating the opportunities I have to be healthy.

Plus, as long as I am sharing those cookies with others and not just trashing them, I am sharing her hard work and my abundance.

Sooo… I don’t know. I guess I circled around and made the logic fit what I wanted it to. That I’m doing the right thing by passing up my friend’s cookies. And she doesn’t need to know that I shared them with others, so she won’t be hurt or feel rejected. Maybe I’m just looking for anyway to apply the inspiration I’m getting from Damien to my own life. I listen to a few chapters and I feel at once like the world is amazing and I’m lucky to be in it and also small because I live this quiet, privileged life where I could be doing more. I feel selfish because I’m focusing so much energy right now on improving myself and my life instead of railing against the injustices in the world. I attend maybe a protest here and there for the issues that affect me, and then I go back to fighting carbs and weight gain. I guess it’s really more that I should be doing both. 

This is a jumble, but I never promised anything coherent. Feel free to leave your thoughts on the whole good luck/bad luck issue. Also, listen to that book. It’s so good.

Current weight: 179

It has been 1 day(s) since I’ve eaten not-allowed carbs

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Posted by on December 12, 2012 in weight loss


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