The cures for everything

…are gratitude, vulnerability and hard work.

It’s all easy to understand, hard to do, and eminently possible, no matter how far we’ve fallen.

Today is a good example. After an overly long winter, it’s absolutely beautiful outside. Most everyone you talk to today will be in a better than average mood. This is especially true of Mainers. There’s a form of pride that comes from living in a place where Mother Nature maintains a love/hate relationship with your hometown.

We survived another one and are now free to enjoy our five months of good weather.

Maybe you’re like me. Maybe you’ll walk around feeling a little blissed just because it’s over 50 degrees and sunny. Maybe you’re also like me in that two weeks from now, I won’t even notice it.

Relief is fleeting and expressions of appreciation are reserved for the unusual. Gratitude is the stuff that makes my soul sing, but I forget to do it half as often as I could.

Until I get a reminder. Like when I learn that somebody I know has cancer and I don’t. Or when someone is going through a bitter divorce and I’m not. Or when I see folks who are homeless or active in addiction or going through some other kind of hell.

It reminds me of how good I have it. Then I’m left to wonder – why do I keep forgetting? Well, it’s as many of my friends in recovery say, “All I ever wanted was a little more than I ever had.” Sometimes I’m more focused on what I want than on what I have. In this way, I cheat myself of contentment and I cheat those I love and serve of the best I have to give.

Vulnerability increases my gratitude.

We only think of vulnerability as something we have with other people. We let our “walls” down and show someone who we really are, but we don’t think very much about how we treat ourselves. We don’t think about how we relate to ourselves as constituting a relationship at all. It truly is a choice to be attentive and appreciative of the person you’re with 24/7/365.

Vulnerability simplifies everything. It allows me to notice what’s good and cope with what isn’t. When I embrace being vulnerable with others, I reduce misunderstandings and conflicts. I increase connection and mutual support. I feel more grounded, loved, and purposeful.

So, just for today, I’m incredibly grateful for beautiful weather, the chance to take stock, and the gratitude I’m experiencing.

Jim LaPierre

About Jim LaPierre

Jim LaPierre LCSW CCS is the Executive Director of Higher Ground Services in Brewer, Maine. He is a Recovery Ally, mental health therapist and addictions counselor. He specializes in facilitating recovery (whether from addiction, trauma, depression, anxiety, or past abuse) overcome obstacles, and improve their quality of life. Jim offers a limited amount of online therapy to those with very flexible schedules.