gratitude and responsibility, by Tzvi Schnee
I do not wake up every morning, grateful for anything in particular in my life; at least, not right away. It usually takes me about a half hour to extricate myself from the near overwhelming entanglement, in the jungle of my mind. It is like an automatic meditation every morning, finding myself caught in the thickets of past resentments, unsolved dilemnas, and persistent grievances that weigh down my psyche.
Aside from saying the “modeh ani,” the first prayer of the day, thanking G-d for restoring my soul, even before I place my feet upon the laminate flooring of my apartment, I can’t really stir myself to take that first step, until I can envision a single task that I would like to accomplish. That task, even if it is a menial one, as long it is concrete, in the sense of being clearly feasible, and able to be accomplished, helps me to start my day.
This could be because I have something that I read about in Psychology Today, called eudaimonia. It sounds like a serious illness; however, it is actually a unique condition that gives fervor to my self-esteem. In its simplest form, eudaimonia can be defined in practical terms as the contentedness one feels after performing a task. This definition would be more in line with Victor Frankl’s thinking, whereby in his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, he explains how meaning, on an individual basis, can be found even in knowing that the unique tasks that any given person is compelled to enact each day can only be accomplished by that person. Every morning I thank G-d for restoring my soul; however, it is my responsibility to benefit my soul through daily mitzvot (good deeds).