Gratitude List: Oranges, Etc

I used to post gratitude lists fairly regularly, along with other lists. That’s supposed to be what blogs are for: thoughts too long for Facebook, but too short or too rough for more polished forums. I’ve been in one of my shy-about-blogging phases, so here’s something to break the ice.

Great Mother, thank you for:

  • Oranges
  • Clean water
  • My job
  • Going home from my job
  • Deborah, Eugenia, Kelly, Wandajune, and other friends
  • Having $1.50 in change so I can buy a soda from the vending machine
  • The guys I sit with in the company cafeteria
  • The window next to my cubicle (I waited eight years for that!)
  • Daily coincidences that show me the Universe is on my side
  • Ball point pens
  • Clean underwear
  • Modern pharmaceuticals
  • Good healthcare
  • Barbara Helfgott Hyett’s workshop
  • Poet friends near and far
  • Jellyfish Magazine
  • Oddball Magazine
  • The Queer Open Mic at Fazenda in Jamaica Plain
  • The people coming to my poetry workshop this Thursday
  • The Boston Dyke March
  • Sweet, sweet sleep
  • My comfy bed

Garden of Images – Distressed Mermaid Mandala

I drew this mandala during a particularly difficult morning, when I was feeling extra sensitive and had lots of noise and hubbub happening all around me. When I’m in a regular state of mind, leaf blowers are an annoyance. When I’m feeling like I have no skin, they’re an assault to the senses. In the text that (very imperfectly) folds into the curves of this mandala, I try to reconcile the gift of my senses with the challenging things they sense. I never did finish the thought in the drawing, but I do in the caption below.

Image of a mandala with a distressed-looking stick figure mermaid surrounded by stormy water
To see the world and still stand in it is the challenge
I must walk the line between protection and sensitivity
The world will always be there with all its slings and arrows
Leaf blowers, car heaters, trees make me cough.
Sun burns. People say callous things
I persevere

#IndictBoston and more Ferguson links.

I’m so proud of my city for the impassioned, nonviolent protest that took place last night in the wake of the Ferguson ruling. If I were the fearless 19-year-old I used to be (and not in the
midst of moving house), I would have been on the streets with the rest of the crowd. Here’s a report from a friend who was there.

Gratitude List: Fall Allergy Season Edition

• A wide social network
• Friends and family who know the me that exists beneath the facade of social media
• An emergency room just a few minutes away from my home that provides prompt, high-quality care
• A doctor’s office that knows my history and will see me when I’m sick
• Health insurance that makes it possible for me to seek out care without breaking the bank
• Knowing that many other people in my part of the world are suffering from respitory ailments — that I’m not alone in my suffering
• The kind of job that won’t fire me because I’m sick and can’t come to work
• Zyrtec, Robitussin, Tessalon pearls, and Albuterol
• A partner who’s willing and able to drive me to the doctor when I’m too sick to drive myself

There’s more to be grateful for than this. My life is changing very rapidly right now, and the stress of those changes has no doubt contributed to my getting so sick. But for today at least, I’m going to focus on resting, healing, and getting better. And on all the positive supports in my life that make that possible.

Gratitude List

  1. Fuzzy wool socks for cold feet at night
  2. A 3:1 household ratio of blankets to humans
  3. Cooler weather means the memory foam in our bed doesn’t give me night sweats anymore
  4. We finally paid off the bed
  5. A doctor who reminds me that the symptoms of my illness are not moral failings, that I don’t have to suffer through them in order to be a productive member of society
  6. A job that allows me to work from home AND provides me with office space (now with new, improved window cube!)
  7. Listening to Sharon Salzberg’s audiobook Lovingkindness while taking baths
  8. A partner who loves and accepts me in spite of my flaws
  9. A community of friends who love, accept, and support me in spite of my flaws
  10. It’s finally frickin’ Friday
  11. Getting two more hours of sleep last night after a solid week of insomnia.

 

Things That Make Me Happy

  1. Tiny dog wiggling in the back window of a car
  2. Going to the gym for the first time in months
  3. A cashmere scarf against my neck on a cold day
  4. 5:00 PM and the sun still high in the sky
  5. My family — all three of us — in the same place for the first time in years
  6. A house full of guests
  7. An empty house, tidied by my mother before she left
  8. The time to sit in silence with a cup of tea, looking out the window

Gratitude Day 19: Flow, the Morning Walk, Thanksgiving Shopping, the Luxury of Obscurity

I’ve heard tell that something happens when you just start typing (or writing, as I still prefer composing in longhand) and keep writing. Something begins to flow in your brain. I’ve experienced the most pleasing sensation of flow, so I know that it’s true. The experience of success in the face of adversity makes it easier to overcome all kinds of obstacles.

I’m also very fond of the artificial structure imposed by lists. It often creates the most delightful poems (I would link to one but Google and my memory both fail me at the moment). Of course, one must be willing to discard what doesn’t work upon rewrite — but in one’s own time.

The thing about gratitude lists is that if I make the list long enough, a kind of comfortable warm joy begins to open in my mind and in my body (around the vicinity of the heart but sometimes the stomach). And it becomes easier and easier to find things to be grateful.

So enough talking and let’s get to the list. The public, public list:

  1. I woke up this morning feeling mostly rested.
  2. My partner is a Nurse Practitioner, and when I complained of extra dizziness he gave me the standard neurological tests that confirmed there was nothing wrong with my balance.
  3. In spite of my inner critic’s whisperings I suited up this morning for a brisk November morning walk, through woods that I’ve walked a million times before but in which I always find new things to marvel at.
  4. The happy accident of the leaf-obscured paths, difficult to make out, led me to the top of the rocks that look out over the VFW Parkway.
  5. On the bare even sidewalk I began to run, inspired by the Foo Fighters.
  6. I have more than enough to eat, more than enough nice clothing to wear.
  7. Heat is included in our rent, so when the furnace is on the fritz and wants to keep warming the house past the thermostat temperature we just open the windows and smile.
  8. The morning walk made it that much easier to suit up and show up to work.
  9. I have a nice easy list of things to accomplish today.
  10. They had beets at the salad bar, which I love in combination with the other tasty offerings.
  11. I know that beans contain enough grain/carb  (not just protein) to keep me well sated and don’t have to resort to the stale roles or croutons on order.
  12. We have finished 90% of our Thanksgiving shopping and won’t have to stand in line with a dump truck of food this Wednesday.
  13. There appear to be more of you reading this blog than there used to be. I still have no idea how most of you got there.
  14. I’m especially extra grateful that I can write about whatever I want on here and am not tied to the slave-chain of encouraging American consumerism.
  15. If the Internet has gotten crowded with stupid people, it’s still possible to create smaller versions of it.
  16. Community building happens, online and off-line.
  17. If I look back on this entry in a year or two, I can always delete it.
  18. I am a private citizen, toiling away in obscurity.
  19. I am loved — and I love.