About six months ago, I had a gratitude moment so transformative, so intense, that I feel it must have been some kind of “Wake up!” shout, a call of transitory enlightenment.
It started out simply enough. I was sitting on the deck having a cup of coffee, smoking a cigarette. As I sat there with my coffee mug in my hand, I became aware of the heft and weight of it. I began to look closely at the cup – one we had purchased in Mexico a couple of years ago, made by an artisan there, with coyotes and cactus painted on the outside. I realized I loved the mug – everything about it – the memories, the connection with my partner Sabrina, the design and texture and feel of it. I loved my coffee cup.
With that moment of love, I cracked open. Things started coming to mind, one after another, things that I loved: the clothes line Sabrina hung up for me last summer when I was wanting to “go green;” my bike messenger bag from Timbuk2; the work we’ve done on our house over the past two years; the trees surrounding the back side of our property, and the vineyard/valley views in the other direction.
The list kept growing. Everything I thought of, I loved – from the wooden Buddha on my altar to the art hanging in my home office. From the inanimate, my love moved to the breathing beings in my life: my faithful yellow lab Ripley; Houla and Teo (dogs), Gordy, Dozer, Idgie, Kenji and Bailey (cats); and Barney the parrot. Then on to my partner, then to my best friend, then to other friends, then to co-workers. Bigger and bigger and bigger – my heart opened wider with each thought.
I was grateful for the present. I was grateful for the past. And for the first time, in a profoundly deep way, I was humbled with gratitude that I was still alive to experience all of this. Given my path, which has included multiple suicide attempts, my being here at all is nothing short of miraculous.
The gratitude experience was a complete, whole body manifestation of emotion, something which continued to build for several hours. Eventually, it began to subside, and by the next day, it was gone.
Gone, but not forgotten. I managed to avoid the desire to retain that altered state, thank goodness. Instead, I felt truly blessed to have experienced it, and amazed that although it has ended, I can remember exactly what it felt like, and through that memory, I can at least return to the consciousness of it all whenever I want to, even though it might not be with the exact same emotional charge.
So today, my first Thanksgiving since that day – I am taking time out to remember. And it feels good.
May you find deep gratitude for your life this week.