Springingtiger's Blog


Gratitude and The Jungle

I had thought that I might write a ‘Gratitude Blog’ every day of this year. I don’t know whether that would have been boring, but it feels too predictable and easy so I’m not going to do it. Let’s be honest there is always something for which to be grateful. Even when I am wallowing in a depression I can ̶ if I put my mind to it ̶ find something for which to be grateful. Unfortunately depression does not predispose me to look for the good in my life, that’s one reason why gratitude is so useful. If you can build a daily practice of gratitude as a habit it makes it harder for depression to get as good a grip on your soul. I think the key is to build the practice in the good times so that it becomes part of your morning ritual ̶ in my case part of my daily journalling. I find that habits tend to remain in place as depression builds and so my journalling with its daily practice of gratitude has frequently been enough of a lifeline to pull me from the pit. I frequently find myself slipping towards depression ̶ I spend much of my life on the edge of depression ̶ gratitude is like an ice-axe I deploy to stop the slide. Beginning my day with gratitude makes it easier to face whatever the day may throw at me, because whatever happens I am going into it with an awareness that life is good.

As I am on the subject of gratitude today I will say that above all else it is the people in my life for whom I am most grateful. I probably don’t express my gratitude enough because being an Aspie I am not as communicative as some people, but I do experience it, There are so many people in my life for whom I am grateful. Rather than list them ̶ as I do in my journal ̶ I shall just acknowledge one today.

I am now scheduling my social media into limited sessions. This morning on Facebook I came across photographs from my friend Dr. Nadeem Bhatti whom I met through a Landmark seminar series. Nadeem is currently in ‘The Jungle’ near Calais taking supplies to and providing medical care to the refugees who are compelled to live there. A few years ago he delivered an ambulance to Pakistan. He with several others drove ambulances across Europe all the way to Pakistan. He doesn’t create a lot of fuss and the only publicity is to raise funds, he isn’t content to give money he gives of himself. Nadeem is just a Glaswegian doctor and family man with young children who chooses to try and help others. Nadeem’s understated service reminds me of the words of Jesus who said, “When you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing…” (Matthew 6: 1-3) a contrast to the newspapers’ love of celebrity charity stories. Of course Nadeem is a Muslim and helping those in need is integral to Islam ̶ it’s actually part of most religions, but people tend to ignore it. I think giving, in the end, has little to do with the religion, but is all about the person. Nadeem gives because he is a generous man and in his giving he makes the world a little brighter for all of us and so he is one of the many people I am grateful to know.

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In Santa Cruz, California years ago, I was in the park feeling very down about a breakup with a girlfriend. As I was wallowing in self-pity, a “parade” of about 20 crippled people in wheelchairs were pushed across the park in my view. That made it very hard to feel sorry for myself!

Comment by Robert Frost




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