I want to suggest and even underscore that practicing gratefulness does not entail denying the difficulty in our lives.
I awaken to the morning cacophony of birds. As I eat my breakfast I am struck by the fact that I’ve not said grace before a meal since childhood. What’s more I am eating sautéed dandelion greens that grow wild in my backyard. This is truly the earth feeding me in a most immediate way. Thank you. Thank you. That is my grace for today. … [click on the title to read and view more]
The It Gets Better Series — Last year for several weeks I republished old posts from the days when I was bedridden and unable to speak. I posted them with the contrast of the current commentary that reflected how much health I have found in the last few years of coming back from a severe iatrogenic injury caused by psychiatric drugs. Today I’m collecting those posts so that I can add this page to the drop-down navigation menu. When I put it into the archives above I will title it “The It Gets Better Series.” So that is what you will want to look for in the future. For now I’ve given it a different title because I wanted to underscore the fact that this blog has helped me in profound ways too. It’s never been a one way street. … [click on title to view more]
Practicing gratitude came upon me as a form of grace. It was not something that made a whole lot of sense to me during the darkest times of illness. No, gratitude did not come easy from that darkest of dark nights and yet the little there was I clung to for dear life (quite literally). For me the bearers of this gift were my cats. While there was nothing else I could find any consistent source of comfort from, I could find it from my cats. For that, I was profoundly grateful and because I had that gift my practice of gratitude began. … I want to suggest and even underscore that practicing gratefulness does not entail denying the difficulty of our lives. I think it’s equally important to honor and embrace our pain and anger and hurt. If we are feeling those things we need to approve of and love the parts of us that feel all those things. That does not negate also being grateful for that which we can be grateful for. So many times when things like gratefulness or forgiveness or other virtues are considered the message is that we should not feel all the bad stuff. I say that’s crap. Feel it all…the bad and the good. Feel grateful and angry. It’s all good and necessary. … [click on title to read and view more]
There is something you know about me, something very personal, and there is something I know about every one of you and that’s very central to your concerns. There is something that we know about everyone we meet anywhere in the world, on the street, that is the very mainspring of whatever they do and whatever they put up with, and that is that all of us want to be happy. In this, we are all together. How we imagine our happiness, that differs from one another, but it’s already a lot that we have all in common, that we want to be happy. … [click on title for the rest of the post]
We have received an inestimable gift. To be alive in this beautiful, self-organizing universe—to participate in the dance of life with senses to perceive it, lungs that breathe it, organs that draw nourishment from it—is a wonder beyond words. It is an extraordinary privilege to be accorded a human life, with self-reflexive consciousness that brings awareness of our own actions and the ability to make choices. It lets us choose to take part in the healing of our world….
…That our world is in crisis—to the point where survival of conscious life on Earth is in question—in no way diminishes the value of the gift of life; on the contrary. … [click on title for the rest of the post]
As Brother David Steindl-Rast says, whether one is religious or secular, it’s hard to argue against gratefulness. How much gratefulness we feel has little to do with whether life seems abundant or filled with hardship. On the contrary, it hinges on the degree to which we are prey to the delusion that we are self-made, or instead have discovered that life is a process in which we endlessly stumble into the unknown. Let’s never forget what a wondrous planet we live on — a place where staggering beauty can suddenly sweep up from the horizon. … [click on title for the rest of the post]