Thursday, February 19, 2009

The "Work In" - Taking a Gratitude Minute

Brought to you by Ed Negron, a former drug user, turned gangbanger, turned drug dealer, turned own best customer, turned addict, turned recovering addict (still there), turned activist, turned business manager, turned student, turned Substance Abuse Counselor, turned better and happier person, turned someone who can love and be loved (Love you Patrick), turned blogger. Check out Ed's own blog here.

Featured Every Thursday on LifeLube --- check out all of Ed's "Work-In's" here.

In our daily lives, we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but the gratefulness that makes us happy.
- Albert Clarke, photographer

This past Monday I had an appointment to see my therapist. Yup, that’s right. I said therapist. I can’t figure some things out on my own either and I have no shame in that. Neither should you. As I was saying... I arrived early. Since his office is literally right off the lake I took a walk to the lake. As I stood there I watched a man playing catch with his dog. I saw a flock of sea gulls (no, not the band or the hair) flying by. There was a family of ducks in the water. As I looked out at the lake I heard the calmness of the waves. Just in that moment a sudden rush of gratitude came over me.

I started thinking just how lucky I am for my life and everything about it. Throughout my life I have been given so many blessings. I have a loving family who accepts me for the man that I am, gay and all. I have been blessed with a wonderful man in my life. My partner Patrick is the yin to my yang. I love him for loving me, for me. I’m sorry to break it to you put I have the best friend, partner, and soul mate in the world.

I have two truly wonderful friends Mike Matt and Greg Harris. I talk to Mike about everything. Mike knows stuff about me that I probably don’t even know about myself, which he always calls me on, especially when he sees me acting out of shadow. Shadow is the part of ourselves that we hide, suppress, and deny. Greg is my mentor, my dearest friend. He’s another one who won’t co-sign my bullshit. Just like Mike, Greg is always there when I need someone to talk to. I can talk to both of them without fear of any judgments. They are my support, my life lines, if you will. Both Greg and Mike are my brothers from another mother. I love them dearly and will do anything for them.

No one who achieves success does so without the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude.
- Alfred North Whitehead

I work at a wonderful place, Chicago House & Social Service Agency. From the CEO, and friend, Stan Sloan, or who I like to call Stana Claus, to the maintenance crew --- everyone gets along well and really supports each other. Judy Perloff, Program Director, and Kiki Dorn, Finance Director, are the glue that holds us together. I am grateful that I can work at a place where I can share my strengths to benefit the clients. Believe it or not, I am also grateful for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, better know as HUD, for awarding Chicago House the funds to be able to run my program, Gaining Ground. This brings me to all of you. I grateful to all the tax payers because if it where not for you HUD and many other government funded program that help people in need would not exist.

Practicing Gratitude Can Increase Happiness by 25%

Psychological research finds that people's happiness levels are remarkably stable over the long-term. In his book 'thanks! ', Dr. Robert A. Emmons describes research he carried out with three experimental groups over 10 weeks (Emmons & McCullough, 2003). For the full article go to PsyBlog.

Ok, I’ll get off my soapbox of gratitude now so you can give gratitude for the things in your life. Make this an important part of your work-in.

What Am I Grateful for Today?

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.
- Author Unknown

Jim Pickett, Director of Advocacy at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago and founder of, for getting to do this blog.

To read daily motivations visit my blog at or to receive daily motivations via email join our Google group Back To The Basics Please .

(Usual disclaimer applies: The suggestions on this blog are just that “SUGGESTIONS.” My words cannot heal your pain and or addictions. Nor can I change your life. Only you can.)

“Every time you don't follow your inner guidance, you feel a loss of energy, loss of power, a sense of spiritual deadness." -- Shakti Gawain

"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek."
President Barack Obama - 44th President of the United States of America 2009

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