Today I am grateful to be alive, to feel, see and know the grace and power of something we call Spirit. That alone is joy and gift enough!
Whenever such moments arrive, I have learned over time to take it all in, to feel the depth and breadth of it, and to say a silent prayer of thanksgiving.
I have enough of everything! It seems to me that if I need to think about what it is that I have enough of then it means that I already have enough.
Some? I have many privileges, so many in fact that it’s unsettling. I am a white, middle class, well-educated American and I have all that I need to live comfortably as I enter retirement. As a practicing Quaker, I am committed to fostering peace and advancing human rights and supporting social justice initiatives wherever possible. (Gosh, that sentence felt too easy to write.) That’s relatively easy given my location on the planet, so my wife and I support selective organizations that work to protect and educate children globally, especially girls, in places where it is needed most.
I have had a long, fulfilling career of working directly with young people and their parents who were disadvantaged in various ways. Today, I continue some of this in much smaller ways as opportunity arises. I have the privilege of time and the ability to use my photography and writing to comfort, nurture and bring some measure of help or happiness to a circle of people who either read my blog or to whom I correspond with directly. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like much at all. And yet, when I hear back from someone who writes at 2 AM, who lays bare all that they’re feeling and struggling with, that connection and my response becomes the most important thing in the world.
It seems to me that if the seeds of gratefulness are at the root of any endeavor then the possibilities are boundless and endless, period.
This images is for Aine, who will know why it’s here! It’s a shot of the Harbor Walk in New Bedford, MA USA.
Well, I am not feeling ungrateful or less grateful in the least than I did one day or one week ago. But I am feeling the need to stave off boredom as I continue to recover from back surgery. I am still, as expected, dealing with a fair amount of recovery pain so that it makes it hard to get into a creative groove doing the things I enjoy doing. I can only sit in a recliner for about ten minutes before I need to move around. Same goes for being on the floor or the couch. Even our dog Gracie, I think, is getting tired of following me all around the house! Kind of funny when I think of it!
Who doesn’t need my compassion right now? There are so many areas of need and ways that people are suffering, within my community and across the globe at any given moment that it’s difficult to even know where to begin.
Like many people the world over, I cherish the writings and selective words of Eli Wiesel. Among my favorites, which relates to today’s question, is this:
“But where was I to start? The world is so vast, I shall start with the country I know best, my own. But my country is very large. I had better start with my town. But my town, too, is large. I had better start with my street. No, my home. No, my family. Never mind. I shall start with myself.”
Professionally, and no matter what the presenting issues were, I learned early on to park every therapeutic model of counselling until I had explored the following three foundational elements with my youthful clients: Self-care, self-love and self-compassion. I kept Wiesel’s quote above framed on my office wall and many teens requested a copy to take with them when they left. I never wondered why.
If my own particular strengths and gifts that I am known for came up in a broader context of conversation with others during a time of mutual sharing, then I would feel at ease in naming them. But to tick off my own attributes for the sake of answering a rather flat and sterile question for June 18, to be honest, makes me feel uncomfortable. Overall, I know where my strengths and my weaknesses reside, and one informs the other. I try to live into the strengths that I have and from time to time when others name those strengths it affirms that I am putting my energy and talents in the right places.
Plain and simple, it means that I would likely move towards resolving the matter more quickly.
Loved your insight on this topic with BKC. Thanks Anna. i don’t think that I could add anything to what has been said already. A joy to read.
Hello Gina, indeed, life is so fragile. My thoughts and prayers for your friend’s recovery.
So true, Mary. Our dog Gracie has been on 24 hour watch-dog overdrive since my back surgery three weeks ago. I move, she moves, I walk around the yard with my cane and she follows right behind me…and she’s blind too, which never stops her from attending to me. Gracie loves life, and all I have to do is look at her with her smiley face (even though she can’t see) and whatever little weight I was feeling just drifts away.
Love this, Mary. Thank you!
Beautiful! Thank you.
It a print that was reworked into a graphic some 30 years ago in a local art show that I photographed. It had a companion piece which I will add below.
Thanks Ursula. I just pulled up Bellerruth’s compositions on my Google Play Music account and will give it a listen later today. Thanks very much, and my best to you as well.
Thanks Gargi. I’ll have to go back and find those words, because I can’t remember what I ate for breakfast with all the meds that they had me on the first two weeks! Thanks for the reminder. I have a number of favorite piano pieces that I enjoy listening to, but will leave the playing to others! My best to you.
You know, Aine, that’s exactly what I have been doing! I even have a photo of a doorknob! (Well, truth be told I have a little collection of knobs, latches, hooks, etc anyway.) We’ve had a lot of rain this month here in the NE US and I have been snapping away at beads of water on garden plants, foggy jetties on the harbor walk and so forth. (Check the Lounge, I uploaded an image that I took while on the Harbor Walk.) Thanks again, Aine.
Thank you, Mary, for your words and your kindness in lighting a candle for me. My progress is right where it was expected to be…slow! I have started to write about some of the humorous aspects of my hospital stay, and even took some photos with my phone in my IV drug haze while there….interesting! Thank you!
Welcome BKC! Landing here you have found a little gem of gentleness and calm in an otherwise noisy and uncertain world.. Good people frequent and participate in this site and the Gratefulness team who run the place are the real deal, plain and simple. Glad you found your way here.
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