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Posts Tagged ‘Gratitude’

By Peter Waite:
Somehow it seems counter-intuitive to feel grateful for having a chronic illness. After all it can change your life in so many not-so-good ways. That is how I looked at chronic illness before I was diagnosed and for several years after. There was very little good I could find about it. But then something gradually changed and it wasn’t my health. It was my attitude. I started feeling grateful.

Chronic illness has helped me become a better person than I was before in ways that I would never go back and change. Ever heard the expression “trial by fire”? Well, that fire can refine us into something as good as gold. Something valuable. Helping us reach a higher standard of human and spiritual existence. The changes were simple at first. Initially, I started feeling greater empathy, especially toward family, friends and even strangers that were struggling with illness. I knew from my own experience what they were going through in their personal trials and was able to be more understanding and helpful to them. Gradually and over time I realized that my own personal capacity for dealing with pain and suffering had increased dramatically. I was able to “endure” more than I ever thought I could. This gave me the confidence I needed to face new challenges. Finally, chronic illness forced me to overcome my own sense of pride and reach out to others for help when I really needed it the most. This has resulted in great blessings for me and my family in learning how to “receive”.

Cultivating gratitude amid chronic illness doesn’t just happen, you have to seek it out. It requires you to be self aware of others and the world around you. It means focusing on things that really matter, often beyond yourself. It requires an appreciation for the little things, like a hug from a loved one or the warmth of the sunlight on your skin on a sky blue day. Eventually you’ll find that gratitude requires less effort on your part and starts to become a subconscious recognition of all that is good in your life. You’ll find yourself worrying less about your own health as you focus on the welfare of others. You’ll start to appreciate what you can do, instead of what you can’t. You’ll begin to feel grateful for life and all the possibilities it still offers you.

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The topic this Wednesday, November 14, 2012  is Gratitude.   You’ll be asked to complete this sentence “I am grateful for……..”   which we’ll read anonymously and discuss.

Steve

 

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          The topic this Wednesday, Novemeber 23, 2011 is Cultivating Gratititude    inspired by this article:

Cultivating Gratitude                          by Peter Waite

Somehow it seems counter-intuitive to feel grateful for having a chronic illness.  After all it can change your life in so many not-so-good ways. That is how I looked at chronic illness before I was diagnosed and for several years after.  There was very little good I could find about it.  But then something gradually changed and it wasn’t my health.  It was my attitude.  I started feeling grateful.
Chronic illness has helped me become a better person than I was before in ways that I would never go back and change.  Ever heard the expression “trial by fire”? Well, that fire can refine us into something as good as gold.  Something valuable.  Helping us reach a higher standard of human and spiritual existence.  The changes were simple at first.  Initially, I started feeling greater empathy, especially toward family, friends and even strangers that were struggling with illness.  I knew from my own experience what they were going through in their personal trials and was able to be more understanding and helpful to them.  Gradually and over time I realized that my own personal capacity for dealing with pain and suffering had increased dramatically.  I was able to “endure” more than I ever thought I could.  This gave me the confidence I needed to face new challenges.  Finally, chronic illness forced me to overcome my own sense of pride and reach out to others for help when I really needed it the most.  This has resulted in great blessings for me and my family in learning how to “receive”.

 Cultivating gratitude amid chronic illness doesn’t just happen, you have to seek it out.  It requires you to be self aware of others and the world around you.  It means focusing on things that really matter, often beyond yourself.  It requires an appreciation for the little things, like a hug from a loved one or the warmth of the sunlight on your skin on a sky blue day.  Eventually you’ll find that gratitude requires less effort on your part and starts to become a subconscious recognition of all that is good in your life.  You’ll find yourself worrying less about your own health as you focus on the welfare of others.  You’ll start to appreciate what you can do, instead of what you can’t.  You’ll begin to feel grateful for life and all the possibilities it still offers you.
One of my favorite blogs is An Attitude of Gratitude.  The subtitle to the blog is even better: “One woman’s journey to learn to live life from a place of gratitude while fighting Rheumatoid Arthritis.” The author, Jules, just reached her 400th blog post!  She will be the first to admit that not every day is wonderful.  In fact, many are not.  But it is the recognition that she determines how she will live with chronic illness, from a place of gratitude, that inspires me the most.  Rather than looking at how chronic illness can limit her life, she looks at how she can live despite it.
I’m not perfect.  And I’m not always grateful.  Recently, after an especially difficult day, I complained on my Twitterfeed that I was struggling with pain and stiffness from my arthritis.  Just after I posted, someone I follow posted this tweet:

“Tomorrow I have to go get labs done to prep for my rheumy app. Blah. But at least I have health insurance to pay for it!!”

This immediately changed my perspective!  How could I be so blind?  It was true.  I too had health insurance and I was certainly grateful for it.  I loved that although she was not excited about her tests, she still managed to be grateful!  I immediately tweeted back that I admired her attitude.  She responded:

“I try 2 believe that no matter what, good things r in my life. I can’t always see the good but I have to trust it is there.”

Now that is cultivating gratitude!

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If I were to say “God why me?” about the bad things, then I should have said “God why me?” about the good things that happened in my life (Arthur Ashe). With that sentiment, the topic this Wednesday was ‘List Three Things You Have to be Grateful For’. 23 guys showed up for the meeting, including 4 new members. Everyone listed 3 things they were grateful for and put them in a bowl, then we each selected one anonymously, read it and commented. The Three most popular items were #1. Family/Friends, #2. Health, and #3. Job/career. The most unusual was Gucci shoes. We don’t know who that was, but I bet those Gucci shoes are Jungle-red??? It’s very encouraging that in an HIV support group, our health is something so many are thankful for. How far we’ve come since the dark days of this disease. It’s also encouraging that so many people are thankful for their jobs/careers. So many of us are still working regular jobs and have careers. But the most encouraging comment was that the most popular grateful issue was Family/Friends. Having supportive friends and family makes all the difference.

At break, we had some great homemade chocolate squares plus pizza.

After break, we discussed the up coming topics. Next week, we’re having a special Thanksgiving Pot Luck Dinner. We’re requesting that people bring in a healthy dish along with the recipe to discuss what is healthy about the dish. The Holidays can wreck our nutrition, so this is a good time to discuss healthy eating habits.

December 1st is AIDS day and we’re doing a special ‘History of HIV/AIDS’ with a lot of displays, to remember the history we’ve been through. Hope a lot of you come to be part of this special presentation.

On Decemebr 8, 2010, we’re having a guest speaker; Vern Applebee from Dr Gary Richmond’s office who will discuss the newly approved (11-11-2010) drug, Egrifta previously known as TH9507 or Thera. Egrifta is a Human Growth Hormone releasing factor that reduces the abdominal fat that builds around the stomach, liver and other organs caused by the side-effects of some of the medications, like Norvir. This drug does what exercise and diet cannot do for some HIV+ men. I believe this is going to be a highly sought after drug, so this should be an very good meeting.

We then did the ‘Cure Survey’ from Poz Magazine. Of the 19 guys who remained after break; 9 had never heard of the German man who had been ‘cured’ of HIV when doctors did a bone marrow transplant for his leukemia using marrow from a person with the CCR5 Delta-32 mutation. 13 believed that a cure for AIDS will be found, but only 7 believe it will be found in their lifetime. 8 believe that it is ‘somewhat important’ to their well being that scientists are working on a cure, while 4 believe it is very important and 6 believe that it is not important at all. 15 believe that the definition of a cure is total eradication of the virus, while 2 believe a functional cure that eliminates the need for meds is a ‘cure’. Nobody believed that enough money is being spent on finding a cure. And nobody believed that the hope of a cure gave them encouragement to take their meds. 8 believe that pharmaceutical companies are actively trying to prevent a cure being found, while 15 would be willing to participate in research that could lead to a cure.

We discussed the Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida concert and will be planning to go as a group for the Saturday, December 18th, 8:00 PM concert.

After group, 10 of us went to Peter Pan for eats, laughter and friendship.

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The topic this Wednesday is Gratitude in honor of the upcoming Thanksgiving Holiday. What are 3 things you have to be grateful for this holiday?

“If I were to say, “God, why me?” about the bad things, then I should have said, “God, why me?” about the good things that happened in my life.” – Arthur Ashe

Come join us
-Steve

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