The process of awakening or enlightenment as I am beginning to learn all begins with gratitude. It is a thankfulness. Thankful that you got something that you didn’t deserve–life, love, compassion, help, food, friendship, et cetera. It is a realization that you didn’t deserve any of it, but it was given, so no matter what happens now and it is gravy from here on out. No matter how bad it gets, it was nice to receive those gifts, especially when you didn’t deserve them. But, to get there…you have to be humbled.

Our brains trick us into believe that we deserve all good things. It is because our mothers and fathers gave us love, no matter how bad they were as parents, at the point of conception…they were happy, and hopefully felt love. The fact that we didn’t die in infancy says that someone loved us, enough to take care of us at least. As a society we care for the young, and as our current young generation proves, you begin to feel as if you were entitled to your life, and it should be easy.

I’ve been far more aware lately, because of my desire to serve others, when someone is serving me. It is always in small ways. My assistant coach knows I want to eat healthy, so he gave me a banana. Susan constantly gives me rides, picks me up, bakes me cookies, and helps me think and talk through my evolution. My friend Tom dropped a jacket by saying, “I thought that maybe you could use this, and if not that you will get it to a person who can.” We give each other gifts all the time, we do services for others constantly, but I have failed to recognize the magnanimity of these actions, and the simple selfless way people love each other daily. I am humbled by it.

My ego wants me to think that I am doing this great thing, running, art, coaching, giving, serving, being…the truth is I am just starting what everyone else has been doing. Embarrassment that I haven’t realized this before…therefore, gratitude.