Gratitude Journal

Bark of a Western Hemlock, Glacier National Park

As life here in Missoula seems to be calming (for me at least), I find myself less and less drawn to blog on personal things. My life, my ego, is losing center stage – enter new studies, adventures with friends, relaxing conversations, service to community and relaxation. So it is more slowly, and perhaps more deliberately, that I dig though my life for that which I am most grateful.

1. Ex-girlfriends. It may seem a bit odd to be grateful for ex’s, but I am. I ran in to one last week on campus. We hugged, chatted briefly, and vowed to catch up further soon. Those we have given our hearts to are, for better or worse, important keys to our past. With lost loves it is so easy to be bitter, to feel wronged – by the other or by the circumstances that pulled you apart. But what a waste of energy, clinging to bitterness or victimhood. This summer I’ve been blessed to have contact with several ex’s. Each encounter has been a mirror into my heart; am I still holding resentment, or perhaps romantic clinging? Free of these, I am open to seeing these women for the beautiful beings that they are, and again exchanging the joy and the smiles we once shared as lovers.

2. Home-cooked meals. There is something to be said for the connection one gets by preparing a meal from scratch with fresh ingredients (better yet to have grown most of those ingredients, or know the growers, as is possible by engaging in a community co-op or farmers market). Such meals are what Albert Borgmann, a former professor of mine and student of Martin Heidegger, calls “focal practices.” They act to pull one’s whole being into a present process; the activity of cutting, smelling and tasting at each stage of cooking, judging the proportions and timing. Best of all is when we can share in this process with friends and loved-ones, creating an inter-subjective focal practice.

3. Fall sun and showers. It’s cooling off considerably here in Montana. The days are also growing much shorter. Today we were gifted with glorious blue skies and sun, enough to pretend it was summer all over again. This was followed by midday darkness and beautiful showers as the golden sun cut across the valley, illuminating each earth-bound drop. It really doesn’t get much better than this.

That’ll have to be all for this night as the sandman closes in on me… ta ta for now. Live passionately, live this moment, live with forgiveness and live with gratitude. Many smiles.

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