If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is!

<written Sept. 4/09>

So I’m sitting on a bench by the river, in my new town.

It’s a stunner of a morning. Clear as anything. Sun rising behind me, river lapping in front of me. I’ll resume my walk shortly.

Just wanted to say this: My circumstances are very different from what they were 5 days ago. I’ve moved from a house of my own (living on my own) into a basement room in the home of friends – major downsizing!!

And this town isn’t nearly as pretty or stunning as the one I left, 40 kms up the river.

But this is a beautiful morning, and I’m bursting with gratitude for the incredible generosity of the folks who’ve taken me in – & for this beautiful day – & for the fact that I can be joyful wherever I am.

Kurt Vonnegut – a brilliant writer who died a few years ago & whom I’ve read and admired for close to 40 years – said we humans (who are hard at work trashing the planet; he was never one to mince words about that) need to be grateful more. We need to say, as often as possible, “If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”

So, I do.

I could focus on what is no more – lost relationships & opportunities, imperfect circumstances of all kinds – but that’s not what I choose to do. I focus on here & now, & all I have to be grateful for, & this helps me let go of a lot of the mind nonsense that enslaves so many of us.

Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh said, “There is only one courage, and that is the courage to go on dying to the past. Not to collect it, not to accumulate it, not to cling to it. We all cling to the past, and because we cling to it we become unavailable to the present.”

Julia Butterfly Hill said, “When I pray, I ask for guidance in my life to be the best person I can be, to learn what I need to learn, and to grow from what I learn. Always when I pray, I ask to let go. Letting go is the hardest part.”

Sylvia Robinson said, “Some people think it’s holding on that makes one strong. Sometimes it’s letting go.”

Michael Lerner said, “Energy always flows either toward hope, community, love, generosity, mutual recognition, and spiritual aliveness or it flows toward despair, cynicism, fear that there is not enough, paranoia about the intentions of others, and a desire to control.”

We never, never, never know what’s coming at us around the next bend. Could be a cancer diagnosis, could be an earthquake/hurricane/tornado/flood. Could be the death of a dearly loved person – or the loss of a highly cherished relationship, or…worse. Planetary-level disasters of one kind or another. (Or, on the other hand, something wonderful, like a new relationship starting. Whatever!) We don’t know

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.” I saw this on a church billboard one time. It’s true, & it’s pretty darn magical!

May the “force” of gratitude be with us all!!