Archive for the ‘Gratitude’ Category

My Personal 09.11.11 Observance   Leave a comment

Today I made the choice to observe the 10th Anniversary of the tragic events of September 11, 2001 by avoiding the media coverage. I already do not watch TV, do not listen to commercial radio, and am judicious in what parts of the newspaper I read (today I only read the funny-pages). Most of my news comes from NPR, and even from this source, I have tired of the “9/11” coverage over this last week.

I fully appreciate that the tragic events of that day irrevocably changed our country; they have affected me as well. Nonetheless, I just do not believe that the constant picking at the scabs and raw wounds of the day is healthy. We need to move on and grow, and this cannot happen by the constant rehashing of the events, which actually seems serve our baser instincts: voyeurism, revenge, hatred and xenophobia. Certainly, we saw the face of evil that day, and I know we will never forget, but I feel that we also need to move forward, otherwise the now-trite phrase will be true: the terrorists will have won.

Today I choose to observe the anniversary by expressing my gratitude – because we can be grateful that even in the face of the events of the day we also saw the face of goodness (more people could have died, for instance; many people acted as heroes; people were inspired to acts of kindness; the list goes on).

I try to make a daily list of twelve items for which I am grateful. Today I will double it:

  1. I am grateful that I have a circle of friends who have taught me the value of living with gratitude.
  2. I am grateful that I was able to spend the day with my son and my parents.
  3. I am grateful to see my parents’ new house, and that they seem mostly happy with it. They seemed quite concerned that Justin and I like it (we do), but what is ultimately important is that they like it.
  4. I am grateful that the day was free of the drama that was always present in my marriage.
  5. I am grateful that I was with people who could observe a holiday without the use of alcohol.
  6. I am grateful for music. Music to me is very spiritual (the act of artistic creation, in general is). Among the artists played today are New Monsoon, Aryeh Frankenfurter, Tempest, Fela Kuti and Railroad Earth.
  7. I am grateful for enthusiastic, wet-nosed home-coming greetings from Buddy and Buster, the wiener-dogs, and for purring rubs from Sophie and Rose, the cats.
  8. I am grateful that none of the homicidal-seeming drivers on the freeway actually managed to hit me. For the most part, they probably aren’t even truly homicidal.
  9. I am grateful that the deer grazing on the side of I-680 had not wandered into traffic. Justin handled himself admirably calling the situation in to 911 (hopefully they were safely removed before they could cause an accident). This had to be an intimidating for a ten year-old.
  10. I am grateful that I have found a spiritual path the works for me.
  11. I am grateful to have discovered my creative side, which includes lapidary work and photography.
  12. I am grateful that I have learned to take care of myself, and not just others.
  13. I am grateful that I have a roof over my head. The living situation may not be as I pictured it, but I am not on the street.
  14. I am grateful that I could afford today.
  15. I am grateful for peaches from the Farmers Market.
  16. I am grateful for chocolate.
  17. I am grateful for Freecycle.
  18. I am grateful for clean water.
  19. I am grateful that I can start my day, week or life over at any time.
  20. I am grateful for my health.
  21. I am grateful for the opportunity for bicycling in Davis.
  22. I am grateful for the kindness of a stranger who gave me good directions when Google maps sent me on a detour ended in a closed road.
  23. I am grateful for my pocket rock – a piece of jade from Agate Beach, which can transport me back to my vacation when I hold it.
  24. I am grateful for yoga.

I would like to encourage all who read this to compose a gratitude list of their own, and to reflect upon what is right with the world and in their lives. Perhaps then, we can begin to live our lives with more dignity, kindness and joy. I know that I will not be, by any means, perfect in this regard, but I will aim for progress.

And then, maybe we can be what is best said by plagiarizing my favorite bumper-sticker:

“God, please help me to be the sort of person my dog thinks I am.”




Posted September 11, 2011 by dragonbreathpress in Gratitude, Philosophy

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Gratitude for the little beautiful surprises   Leave a comment

I like to be outside, taking pictures of things of beauty that catch my interest.  It reminds me, that I must find the joys in life myself.  I have to take the time to do it.  It takes an effort to do this, but now that I am no longer married, it is easier.  Things can, so often, seem bleak.  But I have choices.  Some days the only part of the paper I read is the comics.  Other days I go “odeing,” looking for dragonflies and damselflies (Odonta).  There is a wonderful little pond a little less than a mile from where I live.  Okay, it’s green and murky, but in the Valley’s heat, it always has some dragonflies and some surprises.

Here are some of my new friends from this weekend…


The familiar bluet damselfly (Enallagma civile)

The Virginian Tiger Moth (Spilosoma virginica), with Andy Warhol’s hair:

I know spiders aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I think this lady is beautiful: the black and yellow garden spider  (Argiope aurantia)

Alas, she is spoken for.  The zig-zag in her web indicates the presence of a male.

And finally, upon returning home, I found this handsome fella enjoying our blooming chives:

It’s name — the Gray Hair-streak — sounds like something people strive to cover, and doesn’t do justice to its coloration.  This was a lone butterfly among a buzzing mass of bees (that should make for some interesting honey), and they seemed quite content to share.

So even though I didn’t get the pictures I wanted, I got pictures with which I am pleased.

Another lesson.  They don’t seem to stop.  For that, and for remembering to take the time, I can be grateful.