February 22

“Excellence is not an act but a habit.”   Aristotle

       I am grateful for this new day.  I am grateful for this present moment.  And this morning I remind myself that this present moment is all there is.  There is no ‘tomorrow’ to which I can defer today; just this moment – right now.

       This means that I can’t put off greatness and excellence until tomorrow.  Excellence can’t be accomplished in one giant leap performed at some time in the future.  An athlete who prepares for the Olympics doesn’t wait until the day of competition; he prepares by training and by competing.  The athlete’s performance develops over time – one day at a time, one competition at a time. 

       Excellence is a series of performances, each built upon the last.  The focus is not on yesterday or tomorrow, but what’s happening right now.  It’s paying attention to what works and what doesn’t work.  Each moment is an opportunity to make improvements to previous attempts.  Excellence is habitual, not a miracle leap that happens once and is never repeated.  

       Therefore, greatness and excellence begins now! 

       I have played the guitar for well over 30 years, and in that time I have developed my own personal style.  I am not a professional, but I would have to say that I have professional “chops” (i.e. I’m pretty good).  This did not happen overnight; nor did I suddenly wake up one day and discover that I could play proficiently!

       It took many years trying to improve my guitar playing (in private and in public) to reach my present status.  When I practiced, I was totally present – in the moment – focused on mastering the latest riff or chord inversion borrowed from another guitarist.  To this day I realize that I have not ‘arrived’ when it comes to music or guitar.  Just like thirty something years ago, I am dedicated to excellence because I know that it’s a process, not a destination.

       Part of my daily practice in recovery is “gratitude.”  This is something that I have decided to focus on because I want to improve my recovery.  Gratitude is what keeps me connected with my Higher Power; it keeps me grounded in humility and deepens my faith.  When I feel tempted to act out, gratitude helps me to refocus my thoughts.

       The practice of something simple like gratitude improves my ability to remain clean and sober.  The 12 Step program focuses on progress, not perfection; therefore, I will remain dedicated to excellence in recovery now.

 You can improve your recovery by focusing on something simple like gratitude.