I'm now getting the survival stuff, the gratitude for a roof, and a bed, and a shower and food. The precious-time-spent-with-my-son stuff. The once-in-a-lifetime chance to see places I've never seen before.
There's also the usual stuff to appreciate, which is most often something we've judged as "good" -- a beautiful sunset, a sumptuous meal, a Jimi Hendrix solo, a discreet mistress or a reliable pot connection.
That's easy. In fact, there's way too much of that stuff going around as I mentioned in a previous column. Not that we shouldn't acknowledge these things, but we're overloaded with easy and obvious things to express gratitude for.
No, the true message of Busting Loose for me, as it continues to sink in, is that appreciation goes for everything we've created. So the other day I began making a list of the many things I now appreciate about my life, beginning with the catalogue of personal traits that used to make me uncomfortable. Bear with me.
As Robert Scheinfeld notes in "Busting Loose From the Business Game," we're here to exchange beliefs and illusions for the Truth, not just different beliefs and illusions. So for me, the key is acknowledging exactly what those beliefs about myself are, so they can be processed and taken to the return department in Phase 2 and exchanged for my big, bad, abundant essence.
Again, the idea here is not to turn my "negatives" into positives, like you're trained to do in job interviews. Q: "What's your biggest weakness?" A: "Uh, I work too hard." Nah, none of that crap.
This is an exercise in recognizing our judgment about what is, and embracing these things we perceive about ourselves and our lives as part of the human game we've created. So here goes.
I appreciate my laziness and willingness to take short cuts when it suits my purposes. I appreciate my ability to avoid serious introspection. I appreciate my ability to spot character flaws in others. I appreciate the way I over-think things. I appreciate my obsessiveness. I appreciate my carelessness.
I appreciate my lack of blog ideas and my occasional bouts of writers block. I appreciate my insomnia and my snoring (though maybe not as much as others). I appreciate my ability to not do anything "meaningful," and waste hours online watching Youtube and searching for naked pictures of celebrities.
I appreciate watching my bank account drain down to nothing and the great concern this causes me. I appreciate my consternation about having no permanent residence. I appreciate my envy of those creations that appear to have more than I do.
I appreciate my skepticism and my gullibility. I appreciate the many doubts I have about myself and my abilities. I appreciate that I don't try hard enough. I appreciate that I'll always let you talk me into letting you pay for lunch.
I appreciate my fear -- my fear of confrontation, my fear of making mistakes, my pathological avoidance of yoga and skydiving, my fear of imposing on others, my fear of being taken advantage of, my fear of not being able to finish the job.
I appreciate the shape and weight of my body, the fitness and tone or the lack thereof, the ingrown toenail, the sore knees, the fallen arches, the bad eyesight, the pinched nerve in my shoulder. I appreciate my lower back pain and the times when my prostate acts up.
I have gratitude for the ways in which I sabotage myself and my goals and resist the guidance of my Expanded Self. I appreciate my amazing ability to justify or rationalize anything -- from having unprotected sex to eating Original Recipe Kentucky Fried Chicken (two of the most hazardous things known to man.)
I appreciate how I freely give power to things outside of me. I appreciate my ability to be authentic and phony, often at the same time. I appreciate my ability to be honest and lie, often at the same time.
I appreciate my tendency to avoid talking about the elephant in the room, whatever it is, and then bring it up later at the most inappropriate time.
I appreciate how easily I can be talked into giving money to organizations I've never heard of, for things I don't really care about, and how rude and confrontational I can become over a mistake on my phone bill.
I appreciate how easily I give up some times. I appreciate how dogged I can be about some things, especially when they're leading to a dead end.
I have much appreciation for the amazing illusions and stories I am able to spin about romantic breakups, and the ungodly amount of suffering I was willing to submit myself to.
I appreciate how I still occasionally embrace the role of victim.
I appreciate my belief that I've never been a good enough father, son, brother, husband, friend or boyfriend.
I appreciate my self-absorption and my total lack of concern for tsunami victims in Southeast Asia. I appreciate my mean-spiritedness. I appreciate my attitude of not giving a shit sometimes. I appreciate my complete lack of interest in politics and my pity for those who believe politics can change anything. I appreciate my super cautious nature and my willingness to take risks based on whims and/or faulty intelligence.
I appreciate the gnawing thought that my life has been a waste of time. I appreciate that I don't listen to my inner guidance as much as I'd like to. I appreciate that I have no desire to save the world. I appreciate that I'm probably not going to be the guy to help you move into your new apartment.
This is by no means a comprehensive list, and I don't necessarily recommend this exercise for everyone. But God, that felt good.