Did you know that eighty percent of the information we receive comes through our eyes? And if you compare light energy to musical scales, it would only be one octave that the naked eye could see which is right in the middle? And aren’t we grateful for our brains that can take this electrical impulse that comes from light energy to create images in order for us to explore our world? And aren’t we grateful that we have hearts that can feel the vibrations in order for us to allow ourselves to feel the pleasure and beauty of nature? ~Louie Schwartzberg
Our American friends are celebrating Thanksgiving today. Anybody's Thanksgiving Day is a good reminder for all of us to express some gratitude. If you need some help thinking about what to be grateful for, Louie Schwartzberg has some ideas.
In fact he’s done such a good job in reminding me, I’m calling him beautiful thing number seventy-seven.
The recent period of long, intense hours in my job have kept me away from yoga class for two weeks. Yesterday I finally went back and I didn’t feel any less fit or able after the absence, but my balance was off kilter. It took everything I had to move into some of the poses, and more of that to stay there. It wouldn’t take a genius to figure out that yesterday’s imbalance is indicative of a lack of equilibrium that goes beyond that mat in a yoga studio.
It hasn’t been all bad up to now; only it seems that since the heavy period ended, I’m flying around trying to find a place to land. Or maybe I’m just resisting the landing, wanting to be floated along on the waves of air like that gull I watched the other day.
The big proposal went in last Friday and as I handed it off to the person who would print it and deliver it, I felt like I was handing her a 100 pound weight. I walked out of the office and opened my eyes to acknowledge the approaching weekend with a wagonload of gratitude. Apros pos, because it was Thanksgiving, and three days of freedom sat on my horizon, and each of those three days was forecasted to be spectacular – sunshine and 20+C temperatures. It was like someone was handing us those days as a reminder to be thankful.
And it was easy to be thankful every minute of those three days; they were bright, clear, soft and breezy, and the nights cooled down for the best kind of open window sleeping.
Actually, the sleeping didn’t come for me proper until the following Tuesday, another indication of my off-kilter state. But it didn’t matter; when you get days like that, it’s easy to climb out of your petty personal concerns.
Monday, Thanksgiving Day, I sat in the sun and watched some fellas bustling around on a sailboat, readying her to sail. I felt a stab of envy a little while later as I watched them glide off into the harbour. As her sails rose in the sunlight, I wished I could lie on that deck, an invisible stowaway drifting off to anywhere.
I was carrying a journal and in it I wondered where the escape desires were coming from. I hadn’t experienced them in a long time, since years ago when I was so desperate to leave a job and a city. I’m not feeling anything like that now; in fact I would even say I am pretty content about things.
I know the sailboat desires were just me wanting to get back on an even keel. (Schmaltzy pun, but it’s appropriate.) I wrote a little more and painted a little and got not a little pleasure in the process, but my mind wandered, lost in the freedom of time – like that floating bird.
My girls had gently nudged me into the idea of Thanksgiving on Friday. Anticipating the weather and at least one more rooftop dinner, I couldn’t fathom anything like a traditional meal. I was tired. But they eased me into that idea too; and though we sat in the sun on the rooftop patio to enjoy it, we had a meal of turkey breast and roasted potatoes and beets and green beans and squash and even pumpkin pie.
I went to bed that night, grateful again, and still unable to sleep.
Things are quieting at work and as another week approaches I'm considering the landing. I'll keep working at my Tree Pose; maybe that will help.
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There's lots of talk about gratitude this weekend. On Thanksgiving Day, here are some of the things I'm grateful for:
Getting to be the mother of those girls women
My beautiful, diverse, peaceful country with its amazing music and literary scenes
Autumn Leaves, Autumn Smells, Slow-cooked meals like soups and roasts
Bicycles, Boats, Airplanes
Lilacs, Daisies, Tulips, Poppies
Sharing meals, sharing bottles of wine, sharing conversation
The smell of water
Smart People, Creative People, Innovative People, Artists
Having a wonderful family that likes each other
Charlie Chaplin and Fred Astaire being born of a time that they were captured on film
My brain and my ability to express some of the things it processes
The smell of the forest
A view of the moon over the lake
Blueberries and milk, peaches, strawberries, wild raspberries
Markets, Libraries, Galleries, Museums, Parks, Kitchens, Gardens
Personal chemistry, meetings of minds, lifelong friendships
The feminist movement; peaceful dissenters and those who lead them like Thoreau, Gandhi and MLK
Kindness, Compassion, Generosity, Kinship
Pears, Apples, Squash, Onions, Tomatoes
The World Wide Web
Cottages, Farmhouses, Children’s Forts, Castles
Books and stories that resonate for a lifetime
Long-Forgotten Memories, Déjà Vu, Coincidences, Dreams, Mysteries
Heroes, Teachers, Explorers, Thinkers, Volunteers
Snowstorms, Thunderstorms, Indian Summer
Cousins, Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents, Ancestors
Imagination, Conviction, Courage, Loyalty
I squeezed a few more days of vacation to come up to Manitoulin Island with my family. Rest, food, games, walks and wine. Mostly rest. The island is a gentle and beautiful place. For some reason, this year, I'm wanting more of the gentle and beautiful than I'm going to get. But I sure am appreciating the moment.
The shed and clothesline.
The turtle family working on their tans in the middle of the pond.
Sunlight on new apples.
Daisies and Black Eyed Susans in Dad's garden.
The entrance to one of the local trails in South Baymouth.