The practice of being thankful


Today I just want to share a great poem by B., a young man who participated with the organization “Free Minds Book Club” while incarcerated. I was looking for art, poems or media work done by youth as a form of expression and I bumped into this great organization. FMBC has shown youth great books to get them to learn, question and analyze and at a certain point they learn to write their own work. I found great poems on their site and particularly like this one:

I’m Thankful

November 25, 2016

By B.

I’m thankful for the first time I felt pain
because I’ve learned that something in life
is not a game.
I thank God for the first time I experienced
the loss of a friend’s life
it taught me life is precious and if you don’t respect it,
it might be your last night.
I thank God for the time in lock-down for 23-1,*
because even in darkness
I was awakened by the morning sun.
I’m thankful that I’ve been separated from woman,
God’s most precious treasured molded in gold.
Their beauty is so incomprehensive
and complete, man’s soul.
I thank God for allowing my friends
to testify against me on the stand;
at that moment I knew he was all I had
and my faith should never be put in man.
Some day and night through Karma
the things you see in the dark comes to light.
So I’m thankful most for seeing things
not just black and white,
but in 360 degrees a complete circle of life.
Life is moment of impact that causes ripples in the sea
the things we go through is a reflection
And not our true destiny.
So don’t be weary of what you go through
in the valley of death
but be proud of the reflection
in the mirror of the man that’s left.

*23-1 refers to being in a cell for 23 hours a day, with only 1 hour outside.

I’ve read in several books and blogs on good habits that being thankful everyday for what we have can become an empowering habit and can contribute to our happiness. In fact one of my favorite bloggers says:

Make no mistake: practicing gratitude and showing appreciation daily for the many incredible things we have in our lives (and not just the obviously things) is integral to our success” John Lee Dumas.

It’s very straightforward and understandable without much explanation. However, during tough times it can be easier to see the dark side, I can only imagine the process and strength it took B. to look at his process, at every decision, at every consequence in order to focus on the things he could be thankful for. It takes responsibility to see the things we should be thankful for even during hard times or especially during hard times.