Gratitude. I’ve been thinking about it a lot, because this is the time of year it suddenly rises to the surface of everyone’s mind. I guess it’s easier for us white-folk to think of Thanksgiving as a time of gratitude, rather than a celebration of the subjugation of Native people. Don’t get me wrong, I think gratitude is important. VERY IMPORTANT. When you are grateful for what you have (material and nonmaterial), you are much less likely to be grabby for what other people have. When you practice focusing on gratitude, you pay attention less to what your small self wants right now and remember everything you actually already possess.
And so I am grateful right now. I have many reasons to be. I just had major surgery, and I’m grateful for my super-star surgeon and the staff of the South Peninsula Hospital for seeing me through. Nothing like a little abdominal surgery to remind you of how grateful you are when your body is healing and getting stronger. I’m grateful for my partner who not only helped me before/after surgery, but honestly helps me every damn day (even when he doesn’t know it).
I’m grateful for all of my far-flung friends. There were messages and cards and texts to bring a smile to my face. Pictures of fancy boots to hold my interest when I was at my lowest. Special shout-out to one Kate Carroll de Gutes who never fails to remind me to be nice to myself and is generally an incredible person. Special second shout-out to Peggy Shumaker who in her funniest and kindest way was the velvet hammer of “take care of yourself.”
I’m grateful for this little life I’ve stumbled into. When I was at my most uncomfortable post-surgery, I would just sit on the sofa and watch the sun move along the mountain ridge, the clouds shifting and blushing, snow coming down, Pacific wrens with their exclamation point tails bouncing around. This place has broken open my heart. If I could bottle it up, this wonder, I’d give it to every person who felt alone, felt broken, felt greedy, felt cut-off from the rest of us. Just one whiff of wonder to break open their hearts as well. Let in a little awe.
And so on I go, a little more slowly than usual, writing poetry, reading, putting together the Finding Your Lost Words course which starts in a few days (quick register if you’re gonna!). That’s just another thing for which I’m grateful, this opportunity to share my practice with other people, this chance to open the door for other writers to one way that I’ve learned to be in the world. It’s been a tough old year for all of us. Let’s take December to heal a little, reflect on what we have, help others with what they might need.