Gratitude is a miracle! It is the antidote to selfishness, hurt, grief, animosity, and vengeance. To borrow a phrase, it’s what drives us toward the better angels of our nature. It reframes the entire world with beauty and grace. I also believe that gratitude is a practice, one you can practice in yoga and in the practice of life. You can become good at gratitude and you can suck at gratitude. Stretch your gratitude muscles this week!
Gratitude is love. For me to simply express gratitude isn’t enough. I want to beef up that emotion and really give myself a moment to gush about those things I love, truly love. Love is the graduated form of gratitude.
Here goes . . .(tissue, please?)
First of all, I’m married to the most amazing person in the world. She’s brilliant both in that she shines with an amazing spirit and she’s wicked smart. She is the best baby-mama there is, so patient and loving with our little guy, Elio. She puts up with me, a that fact puts her in the running for a humanitarian award. She’s brave. She’s fun. She’s funny. She’s HOT! She’s an amazing partner. I’m so lucky to have her in my life and everyday I celebrate the fact that we met and fell in love and are working out this life together. She’s changed my life forever and I’m so in love with her. There’s not enough room in the cornucopia for this kind of a love. It’s like after your third plate o’ potatahs, turkey, and oh yeah 3 more of moms homemade rolls cuz their too good AND another piece of pie, the pecan this time cuz you already had a piece of pumpkin and apple, it’s like that kind of full of love with this woman. I love her! Most importantly, and the way I knew that she was the woman for me, the partner for my life, is that she makes me a better man. She sees and celebrate my strengths. She understands and loves me with my failings and shortcomings. She can laugh at my idiosyncrasies . . .unless that idiosyncrasy is pushing snooze for the fourth time and going back to bed, waking her up every time J. She is an amazing woman and like every couple, we are figuring it out with each other and through life as we go. We don’t have it all figured out, we know that we must forge this path as a couple. But we know that we have each others back and that we compliment each others strengths and that our love will be the machete that cuts through the tangles that impede our way toward our purpose together. I’m so thrilled to be living my life with her. I love that woman with everything I’ve got. I’ll go to the ends of the earth with her. My greatest work is to be the other half of this amazing coupling. She’s the yin to my yang, the cream in my coffee, the peanut butter of my chocolate. She is Venus De Milo. She’s the Mona Lisa’s smile. She’s Monet’s Water Lilies. As we were falling in love, we went to Paris for a week. It was her first time. I have so many wonderful memories from that trip together but there is a flash in my head of seeing her from behind as we were running in the streets like children, in love with life and each other as we ran from shop to shop to look at the jewelry in the windows. I remember the explosion of simple love I had for her, perfectly represented by her red sun dress she was wearing. I shall never forget that burst of an image. Surely it will be with me as I die. She’s my everything. I mean check out the look in this woman’s eyes right before she married me! I see pure love and adoration. Not to mention that she looks as bright as a sunrise in this picture. Damn! I’m simply so full of love for this woman. M! M! M!
Next comes a love that I don’t even know how to describe. People warned me when Seneca was pregnant that I was going to experience a love like nothing else when Elio. Sure, sure. Kids are great and you love ‘em, right? They are cute and cuddly and what not. After being with Seneca through her labor process and watching this kid come into the world I looked at him almost afraid to touch something so precious and pure. He just looked around the room and at me with a look that said, “holy shit this is a big world!” Here he was! Sure, I’d seen ultrasounds and could feel him kick inside Sen’s belly (I swear that kid’s going to be an MMA fighter with those kicks!) but to see him in flesh and blood, ready to take on whatever this incredible world will teach him, I felt an enormous responsibility to protect him from the dangers of the world but more importantly to teach him how beautiful and loving the world can be. After he was born, he was hanging out on Sen’s chest for the first few hours of life, connected to that heartbeat, his guiding rhythm, that had brought him into the world and which would continue to guide him as long as his beautiful mother is alive. But when it came time for ME to hold him and I felt his little frame in my arms and pulled him into my chest and looked at his face as he looked at mine, it hit me. It was what everyone talked about, that tsunami of emotion. To call it love would be far too small a word to describe what happened in my heart. Now, 5 months later, In the mornings when I’m home when he wakes up, I’ll go into the bedroom and greet him and give him loves and good mornings while he looks up at me doing his baby stretches and I’ll bask in the sunrise of his smile (he gets it from his mother). His new trick is to stick his tongue out so he’ll stick his tongue out and smile at his Papa and is so happy, pure happiness, to see me after a long night, so content and thrilled to be alive and stretch his little body. I love, love, love, LOVE that little kid. It’s a love that makes me stop writing because words can’t describe it and trying to do so seems to reduce it to something you could even describe and you can’t.
Did you know that I have a twin? Yeah, we are identical. I love him too. He lives in New York and is an amazing guy. He has 4 kids and has really been the perfect role mode for being a dad. He’s an incredible brother. If you were to hear our voices on the phone, you probably couldn’t tell who was who. He’s an amazing person and someone who has shaped me probably more than any other person. Growing up it was truly like having an alternate existence through this other person who shared a bedroom with me. When we were babies, we learned to speak late because we already had a language all our own that we would use. When we were small enough to share a crib, our parents would put us on opposite ends of the crib and in the morning we were snuggled up next to each other, just like we were when we were in the womb. When we were old enough to have our own cribs, our parents would come into our room to see us standing up at the ends of our cribs, talking to each other in our own language, like neighbors leaning on the fence and gossiping about the neighborhood. I love him.
I have an amazing family, two great sisters and two parents who are all supportive and loving. I love them. I have friends who are family to me. I love so many people who aren’t born as family but who have become family to me, friends that I just love to pieces.
I love music. I love jazz. I LOVE playing with my soul band The Soulistics. There’s nothing like standing on a stage in front of thousands of people at a festival blowing your guts out through a saxophone with an incredible 9-piece rock band laying it down behind you. Damn! Such a rush!
I love sitting on on the deck with Sen and Elio, grilled veg off the bar-B and a glass of wine, soaking up the summer evenings. Perfection.
I love a good read. I love listening to a good podcast while on a long run along the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. I love to practice yoga. I love to teach yoga. I am THRILLED to make a living doing something that I love so much. I feel like the luckiest guy in the world.
I love you! Life is so incredible!
I offer you THE LOVE LIST CHALLENGE (dammit! Sorry, I just get so excited). Set a timer for 5 minutes and free write all the things that you love. It’s ok to repeat things. Just keep your pen moving, a skill my dear friend Nan taught me in her River Writing workshops. Skip gratitude. That’s been done and is tired. Go straight for the jugular. Go for loooove! Write it down and share it with me and everyone else who is doing this on Facebook or you’re welcome to post it in the comments section of this blog. Maybe share it with a few people on the list.