Attitude of Gratitude -a whole month of Thanksgiving; Day 6

You know those moments when you are poised on the edge of something great – tasting glimpses of eternity, glimpses of wholeness… only to fall to pieces in the next moment? Mark Nepo says:

“We are rare, not perfect. With our hands full of groceries, and our heads full of things to do, our hearts full of memories, and our dreams full of plans, we tend to think if we could only get away or finish crossing off the things on that list, if we could only undo what has been done or do what needs to be done, we might then live more completely, more perfectly. But we are human beings, flawed colorful beings that eat plans and memories for food.

This is a deep paradox at work in us. For though we aspire to self-mastery and peace of mind, we are only momentarily whole. As conscious beings living in bodies, we are worn down by the days until we flash open to everything. These are moments of enlightenment, when the clarity and compassion of centuries rise in us, and we are suddenly more than we are, only to trip on garbage the very next day or say something hurtful the very next minute to the one we love most.

I used to think of these come-downs as failures, as evidence that I wasn’t trying hard enough, and they would prick me with slivers of inadequacy. I often felt discouraged, as if there were something essential I just couldn’t learn. For a while, I felt deeply flawed.

But I have come to understand that this is only the earthiness of our human condition. It is not to be corrected or eliminated or transcended. Just accepted.

We are in moments pure and ageless as light, and with the very next breath, we drop things or bruise the treasures of a lifetime. We need to soothe ourselves, not blame ourselves. We are rare, not perfect, and seem destined to know all there is briefly, only to pound it into bread.”

So today, I am grateful for:

  1. The power of words – whether fiction, helping us learn compassion for another’s story or learning to understand emotions; or non-fiction, bringing us wisdom and courage and the knowledge that deep down, we are all the same
  2. Patience – when standing on the edge of any decision, no matter how big or small and not knowing where to turn, the ability to trust that the time is not yet right for action. Patience with myself for every time I have pounded something precious into bread, whether I was ready to digest it or not. The patience of friends and loved ones, who have held space for me while I stumble my way through the questions.
  3. The privilege of being able to take rest when I need it.