By: Dr. Rick Petronella

It is easy to feel grateful when everything is going well in our lives. What about when things are not going well?  When there are burdens and struggles it’s hard to feel grateful. Do we wait until life gets better again or can we start where we are, in the midst of problems and challenges?Time to Go InsideI learned that when our outside circumstances are not changing, it’s time to “go inside” (yourself). Change begins with me.

Find Love Everywhere

St. Francis is the man who found love everywhere he went. In his quote “What we are looking for is what is looking,” as taught love. In other words, we are the love that is looking for love. Etched on your heart is the holy truth “I AM LOVE.” When we forget this, we go searching for love, and we inevitably search in all the wrong places. In this sense, the Prayer of St. Francis reflects the spirit and outlook of the man. “To be most authentically human is to be an instrument of peace, or, to put it in the sense of a question, who is the one who sows: love, forgiveness, faith, hope, light and joy in our world?  It is up to us. Not the other person in our livesLord, make me an instrument of your peace

Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy
O Divine Master, grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to Eternal Life

“What is gratitude? According to Collins English Dictionary, the definition is “a feeling of thankfulness”. I looked up “thankful” and it read “appreciation”. I looked up “appreciation” and it read “to value highly”.

That is exactly what needs to be practiced and developed in our lives. The ability to feel grateful; to begin “to value highly” life and the lives of those around us. Life’s challenges can frustrate and even depress us. Most days can be a struggle until we learn about the gifts of gratitude. Gratitude goes a long way to change our perspective for the better!

The gifts of gratitude are: increased self-esteem, happiness, enthusiasm, peace, and joy. Look for opportunities to notice and appreciate people in your life. Pilgrimage follows in the footsteps of St. Francis. He escaped normal life. He was referred to as choosing sacred rebellion. He lived a soul-centered life. The life and teachings of St. Francis are inspiring in so many ways.

Once we are able to hold onto the reality that we carry the love to others, then our lives can begin to have an even greater meaning to us than the just the challenges we face. We can truly find happiness in Thanksgiving… Let’s hold onto this most meaningful prayer as a guide to bring joy, peace and love into our world as a change agent to those we meet. I thank God in my every remembrance of you….
The Apostle Paul, Philippians 1:3  

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone.

Quiz: How Well Do You Take Responsibility for Yourself?

Years ago comedian Flip Wilson created a character named Geraldine, who excused her outrageous behavior by claiming “the devil made me do it.” Poor Geraldine, helpless and ineffective because she wouldn’t take responsibility for herself. In his book, Grow Up! How Taking Responsibility Can Make You A Happy Adult, Dr. Frank Pittman wrote, “Finding the responsible thing to do is the lifelong quest for grown-ups.” Take the following quiz to find out how well you take responsibility for yourself. You won’t be scored at the end, but answer true or false to the following questions, and elaborate a bit on those that feel especially relevant.
T / F 1. I believe that my actions are the primary force in how I live my life, and that I am solely responsible for my actions.
T / F 2. When other people, events or circumstances affect my life, I am responsible for my reactions. 
T / F 3. I take responsibility for my body and for my physical well-being. I eat healthfully, exercise regularly, and maintain good hygiene.
T / F 4. I may not always be able to select co-workers or team members, but I am responsible for the companions I choose and the company I keep
T / F 5. What I say and how I say it is my responsibility. So is listening well.
T / F 6. I am responsible for my own emotions. Someone else doesn’t “make” me feel a certain way. 
T / F 7. My behavior with others is up to me—I’m responsible whether I “go along” with the crowd or remain passive in the face of actions or behaviors I don’t agree with. 
T / F 8. My personal happiness is my own responsibility.  It’s no one else’s job to make me happy or to give me what I need or want to be happy. 
T / F 9. Everything in life is a choice, and I take responsibility for mine—both the good and the not so good. I also take responsibility for how I handle the results of my choices.
T / F 10. I accept responsibility for doing the right thing even though it may not always be the easiest path.
T / F 11. I am responsible for choosing the values by which I live. 
 T / F 12. How I spend my time is up to me. Even though I may be required to work a certain number of hours or to be present at a specified time and place, the quality of my time is my responsibility.
T / F 13. I am responsible for how I use the earth’s resources and realize that my decisions have implications that reach beyond the personal to the global.
T / F 14. I don’t wait for someone else to make my life interesting. It’s my responsibility to engage my curiosity, explore my interests, and follow my passions
.T / F 15. The manner in which I maintain my spiritual well-being is my responsibility. 
T / F 16. Self-responsibility includes seeking solutions when I have problems and asking for help when I need it.

Although self-responsibility may not always be easy, the results are empowering and life-affirming. If you have any questions or if you’d like to talk about your responses to this quiz, don’t hesitate to call or write. 

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