I have written some blog topics about why I cannot work yet and why I am grateful for my life as it is. I had some good conversations with dear friends last week and I spent a night talking to an inspiring person I met through a dear friend about gratefulness. All those conversations made me reflect about the topic of gratefulness again.
As you may know, dear reader, my mental vulnerabilities are in remission. That doesn’t mean I am ‘cured’ or ‘healed’, it just means that I have learned to deal with life as a borderliner. My mental vulnerabilities are still there and every day is a fight to deal with them. When you are fighting long enough, your coping mechanisms become a routine, you don’t even notice you are fighting anymore. Luckily, my parents and friends, meditation and moments of mindfulness help me realise that I am not out of the woods, so to say. Sometimes I feel so good that I think I am ‘cured.’ Official instances which try to reintegrate me back into the regulat working life again also seem to notice. They even seem to think I am strong enough to start up my own bussiness. Everything seems fine, yet I start to think about starting therapy again now and then. Why? Because when things serm to have stesightened out, I run into an invisible wall at full speex and get dragged back to reality by the claws of depression. Applied Buddhism, friends and compassion keep me from smashing into those walks head first as long as I let them into my life. I do so by openly talking about what lives in my mind and by openly sharing what I feel.
But without those walls, without facing suicide attempts, depression, anxiety, fear, stress and extreme unhappiness and discontentedness of life, I would never have allowed them to. I would never have found my way to Buddhism. I would instead still be running along with the society’s blind, hasty and destructive way of life: Grow up fast, be ignorant, gain a false feeling of individuality, work in order to earn money, buy a house, get kids, become an even larger consumer, spend most of your time with people you don’t care about, go to the gym or watch netflix after work, spend your weekends partying and spending money, work more, gain more, be ‘better’ than your peers, then work some more, work, work, ambition, career, more, more… and then you realise you’ve spent the best days of your life doing things that don’t actually matter.
Being ‘mentally ill’, has given me the oppurtunity to re-think how I live my life, to let go of fixed gials and re-focus on actually living! It is not money, ambition, wealth, fame, prestige or titles that are important to me anymore. I am happy to have gained insight: It is more important for me to cultivate compassion, to do good to the world, to find satisfaction in life itself, in my own mind rather than in external stimuli. That’s what I am most grateful of, living consciously in the here and now.
I spend my days waking up and meditating, being grateful for the things I have free or easy access to: breathable air, loving family members and friends, my animals, food and water, books and supplies and free access to my own mind at any time! I read books, which, to quote G.R.R. Martin, are ‘a whetstone for the mind.’ I go hiking or I work out, I help my parents around the house or I help friends out. I venture out into the world to see the true realities of life, to meet new people or just to enjoy life all around me. I play computer games or write poetry or stories in order to relax my cognitively gifted subconsciousness, I build moments of mindfulness into my day, I visit dear friends for conversations and coffee, I reflect on life, I spend time doing my hobbies. I cook and enjoy meals, I enjoy good food and drinks. I work at the animal ambulance as a volunteer, doing something good for the world together with great colleagues, without expecting anything else than satisfaction in return. I have no problems with filling my days with useful things to do.
Talking to my friends is always a goid way to reflect and last week was filled with inspiring insights, conversations and experiences. That person I was unexpectedly and gratefully talking and listening to inspiringly said that every day she asks herself what makes a day into a great day. That memory somehow stuck with me best from the past week. If you are grateful, mindful and keep an open mind, you will probably be able to start naming a few things that do or did today…and it may be a lot more things than you imagine!