Alphabet: I give thanks for the alphabet, which allows me to put together letters to spell words to express and share my feelings. So many people cannot read and write. I really appreciate this privilege.
I give thanks for art, not only the creative process but also the art of living: how we interact, think, walk and talk, dress and express. The whole enchilada…
B. The Beatles
Four common lads, not much different than us, who took a risk. As they grew, I grew along with them, inspired by the unforgettable words and music of songs like Can’t Buy Me Love, Getting Better, All You Need Is Love, Let It Be, We Can Work It Out, Good Day Sunshine, Something, Here Comes the Sun, In My Life, Within You, Without You… I know I left out your favorite song.
I give thanks for change. I invite it, I need it, I expect it, I accept it. I thrive on adventure, the unexpected, surprises and challenges.
I give thanks for drive! You can’t get anywhere or anything without motivation unless, of course, you sit cross-legged, meditate, chant and believe everything will come to you. Let me know if that works for you.
I give thanks for education in all its aspects - formal, self-taught, in the classroom, at home or on the road. It’s stimulating to learn and, if you are curious, it is boundless and never-ending, a life-long pleasure.
I give thanks to friends. They are the bread and wine of life. I count my wealth by them. I am rich because of my friends. Some I have known all my life, some just for one unforgettable day. What are we without each other?
I give thanks for gratitude, the engine of my existence. I am always more alive and content when I am mindful, conscious of giving thanks and appreciative of the basic things we often take for granted: health, food, water, clean clothes and warm shelter, for example.
I admire and aspire to humility, gratitude’s equally important and attractive sibling. Seeking to add value to others, to encourage others, to celebrate others are just a few of humility’s virtues. Producer-composer Quincy Jones said: “Ego is just overdressed insecurity.”
I give thanks for ideas, so exciting in their birth. They sprout like mushrooms, seemingly inexhaustible. We get them for a reason, so I pay attention to them, act on them, cultivate and nurture them. You never know what will happen when you apply energy and action to an idea.
I give thanks for Jesus. Whether he actually existed is not important. But the simple words attributed to him and the stories of his teachings are profound. That he is a courageous rebel and bold revolutionary, ministers to the poor and downtrodden, and is all about truth and love is gold to me.
I give thanks for kids because, unlike adults, they are unfiltered. They say anything! I love to provoke and encourage and interact with them; ask them questions and vice versa. When they express themselves, they seem to grow with confidence right before your eyes.
There are few things in life better than laughter. Having a few laughs is essential for health, especially about yourself.
Food for the ears, food for the soul, food for the feet.
Let’s hear it from the good doctor himself: “I like nonsense. It wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living. It’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of the telescope, which is what I do. And that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.” (Dr. Seuss)
You are okay. I promise. Appreciate yourself for the one-of-a-kind person you are. All the tomatoes in the garden are not the same. Thank goodness! Cultivate your originality. No one does it like you. Be you. Be natural. Be confident. Your intuition is legitimate. Act on it and it will take you where you want to go.
Don’t give up. Good things often take time. If you covet something, then it is worth committing and dedicating yourself to it. Isn’t it sweet when you complete the feat?! Remember the lyrics from Jimmy Cliff’s You Can Get It If You Really Want:
Rome was not built in a day
Opposition will come your way
But the hotter the battle you see
It’s the sweeter the victory.
Q. Quincy Jones
I am grateful for Quincy Jones, the protean productive Q. See the inspiring, incredible Netflix documentary on his life. Bandleader for Frank Sinatra and producer of the greatest-selling record of all time, Michael Jackson’s Thriller (66 million), he said: “Love to share. Health to spare. Friends who care. It’s really all that’s important.” When asked after his second life-threatening brain surgery what was important, he sighed: “Contributing something you don’t get any credit for.”
I am grateful for Jelaluddin Rumi, the mystic poet, born in Afghanistan in 1207. His wisdom is timeless. There are hundreds of his quotes to be nourished by. Here is a sampling:
Wear gratitude like a cloak and it will feed every corner of your life
The wound is the place where the light enters you.
Don’t grieve. Anything you love comes around in a different form.
Where there is ruin, there is hope for treasure.
Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious.
Doing things for others is liberating. When you have the blues or you are bored and listless, get up and do a little something for someone. And then do it again. You will feel great about yourself and pleased you have helped someone in need. A kind word, opening a door, writing a letter, complimenting someone: any simple act of goodness is a big deal. It’s our world. Let’s take it back.
I give thanks for travel, my mistress, which has opened my heart and mind and presented to me everything I ever wanted, gifts I didn’t know existed. In the process, I became a troubadour, quixotically deceiving myself into believing I descend from a noble caste of itinerant poets tracing back nearly 1,000 years. Ah, the imagination.
I give thanks for this unbelievable gift of life. How did I get here? What am I doing? It doesn’t really matter, except the never-ending fantastic phenomena of friends, places, ideas, revelations and emotions - just plain living - staggers my imagination. Do you feel it, too!
I give thanks for my countless triumphs but equal respect to my failures and losses and regrets, which serve to teach and help me grow, even if I sometimes have to learn the same lesson over and over. Considering there are 60-500 million sperm in a male ejaculation and only one (you) survives, we are all winners. We made it. Congratulations!
I give thanks I can work at what I love. According to my colleague Rakesh: “The only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it, keep looking. Don’t settle.”
I give thanks for kisses. I kiss soup when I prepare it. I kiss my houseplants when I water them. Confession: Sometimes I blow myself a kiss when I look in the mirror. Jimi Hendrix excused himself to kiss the sky. I blow a sweet one to you!
I give thanks to you and you and you and you… Every person I have interacted with, shared with, exchanged something with is a part of me. This accumulation of thousands and thousands of experiences - pleasant, disturbing, relaxing, challenging, call them what you will - has sculpted me, for better or worse, into who and what I am today. Nice to meet you. This trip is pointless without you.
At the conclusion of a busy, productive day, I am grateful for the Angel of sleep - deep, restorative, dream-filled.