on gratitude

Lately I have had one thought that recurs again and again: I am so grateful for every being I have crossed paths with in my life. Every person, every animal, every bird, every insect, every plant, every rock or pebble.

I remember only a fraction of them, of course, for along the way I didn’t pay the most full-throated attention and usually noted only those who were really lovely or awful or treasured. I’ve been remembering some of the others in the last few months, though, and realizing how much I took for granted when they were in my daily life. I’ve also stretched the field to include people I’ve only known from afar: presidents and pundits and activists and artists and writers and famers and creatures whose stories entranced or horrified me for some period of time.

All I can feel about any of them now is gratitude. Just a deep welling up of genial feelings, even for the knuckleheads among us (I, of course, wear that hat as often as not!). I look at the world un-haunted now, having hacked through the tethers of fear that once kept me grounded, having stripped myself naked and dove headlong from my carefully constructed lifeboat into the deep sea, having admitted my previous tight grip on the reins of existence was no more than chimera, vanity, hubris in tight britches and ear muffs. I really do love the world, at last I can admit it, and no one could be more surprised than me to discover the gifts of such an admission.

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