What would our life be with out numbers? Every language know to humankind has a set of numbers. How else to keep statistics, track of time, progress and the like? Numbers are our friends.
We I was a student lo these many years ago, numbers intimidated me. And it didn't help that the education system seemed to take all the fun out of the things you most use numbers for. Arithmetic. Algebra. Geometry. Statistics. Etc. It was an exacting science of sorts. Sadly I was never an exacting sort of guy. I love me some glittering generalities and nebulous ideas that were open to interpretation. Numbers seemed overly concrete.
It wasn't until much later in life I discovered that the beautiful way an algebraic formula solved out that I realized that mathematics were so very elegant. Everything could prove out with numbers. How poetic is that?
Numbers are our friends. They are even pretty when written. Like letters, each character has its own personality. And each reflects the personality and character of the writer. That is one thing that gets lost with the algorithms of this computerized age. Much like typing or word-processing. But even then, they are lovely in the way they can express even the most esoteric equations.
So today I give thanks for numbers and all they do for us. Without them we would never know how fast we are going or how much we weigh or even how old we are. And while that sounds like a tempting thing to wish for, it really would make things a bit more complicated to handle.
What a privilege it is to vote. It amazes me when I hear folks say they don't vote because its inconvenient, doesn't make a difference, or they are uninformed. Sad. I am so grateful in these troubled times the long-standing tradition of voting continues on.
"There's no such things as not voting. Not voting is voting," said Eric Liu. "It's voting to hand your power over to someone else who's gonna say, 'Thank you very much. Let me take that voice and that power and exercise it in your name, but in my interests.'"
The above quote was the opening for this past weekend's story on civics lessons in modern America. You can, and should, watch it here: CBS Sunday Morning. It features Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotamayor and Neil Gorsich. One "Liberal". One "Conservative". It truly is eye-opening.
Getting back to the quote of Eric Liu, not voting is voting. It is giving away your power...not even by proxy. Just saying ultimately that you don't care. It is apathy that in many ways got us to where we are today in the US. And sadly, as goes the US, so goes the world it seems. Or perhaps we are being left behind? Who really know? Only time will tell. But it will tell on us, especially if we don't exercise our rights as citizens of this great country.
So tomorrow I will march myself over the nearby polling place and cast my ballot. I like going to the polls, and I know it is not possible for everyone to participate that way. But there are alternatives. Hopefully you have taken advantage of one those by now. It may or may not seem change anything. On the other hand, it's the little things that add up. And voting is one of those things. It may seem little, but honestly, our future depends on it.
Today we "fall back" into standard time. This means a bit more light early in the morning, but sudden darkness by 5pm in most places. Here in California, we fall at the beginning of the Pacific Time Zone. I guess that has some effect, too. In any case, we try to control the light we get from the sun, but in my humble opinion, the best we can do is utilize the sun's power to create solar energy, etc. Changing our clocks just messes with our minds I fear. And disturbs our biorhythms to boot.
However this is about gratitude. On this fourth day of this commitment to expressing and sharing those things I am grateful for, I am aware how grateful I am for light. More light. Even in the shorter days of winter, it is the light that chases away the doubts and fears. Shine a light on it and it, whatever it is, becomes apparent.
I am blessed with decent eyesight. I've needed glasses since I was 13. Puberty I guess did me in. LOL. But seriously, I give thanks that I can see in the light and even in some darkness. I have friends who cannot see. Macular degeneration. Glaucoma. Blindness. All have stolen their ability to see. What I know about these people though is they have within them a true light. It is a light the shines forth in their smile, their optimism and their insights. Insights are truly a blessing. And those insights come with the light whether it be the inner light we all possess or the outer light that leads us forward.
I had a friend whose license plate read "MORLITE". That is all we need. The more we shine light on the darkness, especially in these troubled times, the more we bring love and understanding. Someone recently said on a talk show I watch that these times remind her of the 1960s. Unrest. Civil disobedience. Protests and the like. For every two steps forward, it seems we must take one back. Sometimes we just need a moment to adjust to the new reality some call progress.
Give thanks for all the sources of light in your life. And let those sources disperse the darkness in your mind. Light will win out. It always does. Yes, it really does.
Today I am grateful for newly recovered inspiration. Just beginning this practice of gratitude in this blog journal has re-ignited something in me that has felt dormant...or gone entirely...for a while. Putting fingers to keyboard (used to be pen to paper) and tapping out thoughts and musings have rekindled that little pilot flame to be creative.
It kind of started Thursday night when I went to Riverside's Arts Walk. Visiting museums and interacting with the creative types, "creatives", felt good. I was reminded of how good it feels to be inspired to create. Whether it be through my writings, my photography or even just garden landscaping, it just feels like home.
I am reminded that the word inspiration means first to inspire, to take in air, ie breathing. It is in breathing, that life is sustained. And the arts are life sustaining too, thus inspiring. Get it? Thank heavens for the ability to be inspired. Even when the embers grow cold, a few good targeted exhales can re-light the fire. Today I give thanks and breathe in inspiration.
All day today, I have been musing on those things I am grateful for. There are many. So one would think it would be easy to line up twenty-two for the twenty-two days leading up to Thanksgiving (November 22). Perhaps that is the problem? Or is a dilemma? Or perhaps a paradox? So there you go. Settling on twenty-two may be an issue and as soon as that occurred to me, it became clear:
I am grateful for the cornucopia of bounty I have been blessed with.
Having so many things to be grateful for is cause for gratitude in itself. And in addition to that, I am grateful for the awareness this discipline of the gratitude journal is affording me. And its only Day 2.
Gratitude Quote for the Day:
"Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings." ---William Arthur Ward
About Mr Ward
I thought maybe before the commercial machine forces us into the holiday hullabaloo that has become Christmas these days, I would like to take up once again the practice of gratitude. After all, it is November, the month of Thanksgiving, the one holiday that doesn't include over-the-top decorations, gift giving, candy doling, and the like. Thanksgiving is that one time of year we are encouraged to gather together and give thanks.
With the above in mind, it seems appropriate that this discipline should begin with two similar, almost mirrored holidays, All Saints Day and DIa de los Muertos. Both are traditional times to honor and celebrate those who are no longer with us. Both are rooted in the basic belief that no one truly dies until they are totally forgotten. No where is this more aptly portrayed than in last year's hit animated flick, Coco. If you haven't seen it, do. It really brings home the meaning of life and relationships and love.
So on this first day of my gratitude journal, I want to just mention those who are now gone, but, for me, not forgotten. For it is these folks who helped shape me into the man I am today. They include my "nuclear" family: Mom, Dad, Russell, and my grandparents. Plus that large extended family I had with aunts, uncles, cousins and in-laws to boot. Family gatherings at the holidays, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas brought the heart of the family to prominent display. Hard to believe almost all of them are gone now. But I carry them all with me. But as long as I remember them, they live on.
Of course over the years there have been teachers and playmates, principals and counselors, neighbors and friends. Funny how life ebbs and flows as I have reconnected with some from fifty and sixty years ago after many years of separation. Just shows to go you, there's always someone who remembers you and sometimes in the most unexpected ways.
Of course when you've lived as long as I have there are even more people who have become "like family" and people who are your friend for life even if you don't communicate for long periods of time. I can think of people I could ring up right now and we would just pick up from where we left off. No worries.
Okay, probably enough for today's gratitudes. Perhaps this will turn into a gratitude habit, an attitude of gratitude. And wouldn't that be just fine?