Gratitude Sunday: Counting Blessings

Gratitude * Sunday

Quotes of the Week – “Today is a good day to die.” Oglala Lakota saying

“There is only one god, and his name is Death. And there is only one thing we say to the god of Death: ‘not today’.” Syrio Forel, swordmaster in Game of Thrones

Sunday Haiku
Late spring ends, warm, dry,
portends long days full of flies,
and cool shady trees.

Sunday Musings
Since I’m having trouble keeping up with the double standard (Really?!? The man who was elected, albeit by electoral fluke, to the highest office in the United States of America can daily call people derogatory or racist nicknames and incite his supporters to violence, gets to remain in office without a suspension or administrative leave, but other media people who recklessly employ similarly demeaning and even vulgar epithets are fired from their jobs; don’t get me started on the wealthy elite taking advantage of the poor. And I thought I had trust issues before…), and the distress of the state of our country has accelerated my rate of aging; the aging of America is similar to my body over the last couple of years, just one disability piled upon another. It is too easy to dwell on how much crazy wrong stuff is going on, so I’m going to do something more tedious today. I’m going to count my blessings. Bear with me. We’ll see how far I get.

I woke up. Blessing.
I get up when I want to without the frightening intrusion of an alarm. Blessing.
I hear the birds sing. Blessing
I wiggle my toes and stretch all the same old muscles. Blessing.
I can move. Blessing.
I rolled over. Blessing.
I don’t have a headache. Blessing.
I sat up. Blessing.
I stand up. I’m not dizzy. I don’t fall over. Blessing, blessing.
I rise from a comfortable, warm, dry bed from under a quilt made by the loving hand of my niece. Blessings.
I walk to the window. I notice the weather outside. There is weather outside. Blessing, blessing, blessing.
I take a deep breath of fresh air before closing the window. My lungs don’t hurt. Blessings.
The light comes on. The electricity works. Blessing.
I walk across the hall to the throne room. Blessing.
Everything comes out all right. There’s paper. Blessings.
I walk through my “office” and plug in my computer. Turn it on. Computer powers up and loads properly. I have an “office” space. I have a computer. I have an internet connection. Blessings.
I open doors and windows on the way to the kitchen depending on the weather. I have doors and windows to open, and I have a kitchen. I breathe fresh clean air when I open the windows. Blessings.
I have an electric heater to turn on if I am cold beyond my layers of clothing. Blessing.
The water for my first glass of the day from my filtered tap is as clean and pure as city treated water can be. Blessing.
I have a variety of simple, healthful foods to choose from for breakfast. I eat well. Blessing, blessing.
The hubster woke up this morning. He got out of bed, dressed, ate, and made my coffee. All good blessings.
The coffee grinder and espresso machines are still working. I have fresh coffee beans. So many blessings!
Breakfast and coffee tasted good and aren’t irritating my stomach. Blessings.
I have a newly borrowed book from the local lending library to read with my breakfast (yes, I’m that library user). I can still read and understand what I am reading. My local property taxes are all paid up so I can have a local lending library available for me and all my community members to use. Blessings.
I have a hairbrush I like with which to brush my hair. I still have hair to brush. I have my favorite toothbrush and toothpaste with which to brush my teeth. I still have all my teeth to take care of. I’m able to brush my own hair and my own teeth. Blessings.
I have my own private shower I only have to share with two other people. I have my favorite soap, and shampoo, and hair conditioner, and face scrub. Blessings.
The water comes on. It gets hot and regulates to the temperature I want. It shuts off properly too. Blessings.
I have a pile of clean, dry towels with which to dry myself off. Luxurious blessing.
I have clean, dry clothing to put on. I have a selection I can choose according to weather, from tank tops and shorts, to heavy sweaters. I know how to layer my clothes. I have a selection of clothing for when I want to be presentable in public. I have a light jacket and a winter coat. They are old, but not worn out. Blessings.
I have a variety of shoes and slippers that don’t hurt my feet and don’t have holes in them. Blessings.
I have dishes to do, a sink, detergent, scrubbers, and a dishwasher to do them in. They all belong to me. Blessings.
I have piles of dirty laundry to wash and a new machine to wash them in. I have piles of clean clothes to fold and I know how to fold them. I am still able to do these tasks. Blessings.
My knee aches. It feels better when I stretch it out. I have a knee. My brain feels the pain in my knee. I’m able to get relief with a little movement. Blessing, blessing, blessing.
I have a car in case I have a commitment or event today. The car has gas in it and usually works. Blessing.
I have many days I don’t have to go anywhere if I don’t choose to do so. Blessing.
I get to swim three days a week and I could choose to go every day if I wanted. Blessing.
I have a counselor who listens to everything I say without judgment or reprimand. Blessing.
Six months of the year my little burg hosts a local farmers market every week less than a mile from my home. I support local farmers and gardeners with my food dollars, and enjoy the foods of their labor. I’m still able to walk the few blocks of the market relatively painlessly if I take my time. I have an old rusty foldable shopping cart that works just fine to drag through the market and several reusable shopping bags. I get to see and talk with other community members I’ve met over the 20 years I’ve lived here. I went to the university here in my little town, watched turnovers happen in administration and faculty, and a few of them are not retired yet, even a few graduates like me who stayed after graduating; market is a perfect place to take a break close to campus. I see people I served over the counter at my last place of employment. I see families with whom I swim at the local aquatic center. I see young people who went to school with the son who are bringing their own babies to market with them, teaching them to eat strawberries and zucchini. I say hello to the mayor, current city council members and former council members, the police chief, vendors, local pastors, teachers from when the son was in school, a past scoutmaster, the new scoutmaster, scout families from the local troop in which I served. On the hottest summer days, the fire department provides a cooling mister unit if they aren’t serving a fire. Blessings of a smallish community.
The son works every day he can. It’s barely enough to pay for transportation and food, but it’s honest work. He’s young. He is able to think critically; he has many choices, and many possible paths. Blessings.
All the pregnant women I know this year are still doing well and have had safe deliveries. Babies be the best. Looking forward to each of these Blessings.
Today, I am able to write a cohesive sentence, to state an opinion, to share my words with others. Blessings.

I lost count, and the list goes on all day. I walk in grace every moment, every blessed step. I have, I own, I get to, I don’t have to, I want to, all of my choice. Despite all the lip service given to choices, we do not share the same choices, advantages, or opportunities. If I had the life of my choice, would it look like my current reality? Hwell, I enjoy a great abundance of stuff, and it might at least be a little tidier as I would gladly pay to have someone help around the house and yard if I had sufficient fluid cash flow.

My little human mind is nothing if not dichotomous. As I walk through grace, my brain ticks off a negative for every positive as my daily anxiety accompanies me through worry, fear, regret, indecision, and inability. I am limited by my physical and mental abilities, my financial situation, and time, yet I am unlimited by my imagination. I’ve awakened unable to move, slept in wet beds, not had a home to sleep in. The car and the clothes washer and the water heater and the plumbing and the toilets have broken. The electricity and water have been shut off. The eviction notice arrived. Today I can fill my gas tank; next time I need gas I may only have 27 cents to put in. As hard as I’ve worked to train my brain toward the positive, it is a delicate and fragile equation to negate the negative.

In poverty, we live life on the edge despite working toward our plans and goals. Living on a constant diet of adrenaline and cortisol changes one’s chemistry and compromises the immune system. People of wealth and “power” have different concerns: they can fear losing their money or sanity; they live with greed as a constant companion and fear being revealed as greedy or revel in their greediness, neither of which sounds emotionally healthful; or they live lies and are constantly on edge they will be revealed as lying and as being liars, but they can also make choices with impunity, and their choices, advantages, and opportunities are different as well. The endorphins of success also changes chemistry and perhaps leads successful people to think more of themselves than they are. We all have our own private hells. Wealthy people are not in “control” any more than poor people are. If we blow up the world with nuclear bombs, or volcanoes, or allow climate change to get out of hand for the profit of antiquated non-sustainable energy systems, we will all be victims, not winners. Who will be the survivors?

I know every bridge, hidden hedge, every narrow alley between buildings, and abandoned building in the area reside where I think I could sleep if I were homeless. I scout them out. Just in case. Because when you are poor, even if you’ve paid for your own home for 20 years, the rug underneath you is slippery and can shift out from under you at any moment whether you choose it or not.

The shadow of the dichotomous mind is a dark, squalid place. I see the sun, I feel the radiance from it, I see the flawed beauty in every human I meet regardless of their choices. I count my blessings because I can. It’s what I have.

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week –A dizzy twirly pink rose. Creamy white sedum blossoms. Love these fire lantern lilies and their engine-orange color. The femininity of this pink rose.

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} Holy Smoke (1999, rated R) with Harvey Keitel and Kate Winslet, a film by Jane Campion set in Australia. A young woman goes to India, is enamored of a guru, and her family stages an intervention to prevent her return to India. * Wagons East (1994, rated PG – 13), John Candy’s last movie as he died during the last weeks of filming. Silly humor in which a group of settlers decide they’ve had enough of the Wild West and head east. Railroad tycoons want to thwart the east-bound wagon train so as not to ruin the potential profit from westward movement, and send a saboteur who gives us the human version of Wile E Coyote trying to stop the wagon train. * The Piano (1993, rated R) with Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel, and Sam Neill, another Jane Campion film. Another blessing as I age, I find authors and film makers I hadn’t known about before, artists who amaze, impress, and astound me. Jane Campion is in this category; her work always stuns me. * Binged through 2 seasons of The Frankenstein Chronicles (2015, rated TV – MA), a Netflix original, with Sean Bean of Game of Thrones fame. It’s 1827, London. Medicine is being formalized and “modernized” by surgeons and scholars who want to prevent quacks, barbers, midwives, herbalists, and other laypersons from providing medical assistance to those who need help. Children are missing from families and young orphaned street dwellers are missing as well. An abomination of parts of children stitched together is found. The monster must be identified and stopped. William Blake and Mary Shelley are part of the intrigue. Good old-fashioned suspense with a couple heart-starting doses of horror thrown in.

Currently ReadingBluebeard’s Egg (1989, fiction and memoir) by Margaret Atwood. Masterful short story vignettes, between pieces of memoir of her life. * Natural Causes: An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Killing Ourselves to Live Longer (2018, sociology) by Barbara Ehrenreich. Let’s face it. We all die no matter what effort we make to live long healthful lives. Medicine and medical practice is not as “science-based” as we are led to believe.

This week I have been grateful for:

  • Getting back into the pool after being sidelined for nearly a month with a contagious skin thingy. Didn’t want to expose the babies and littles I share the pool with, and didn’t want to expose my open skin to whatever they might bring to the water as well.
  • How much I love water and the feeling of being embraced by external fluid pressure without feeling claustrophobic.
  • The comfortable temperature my pool is kept at, and the safe feeling of the water being only so deep and so wide.
  • Floating without trying. Whether I want to or not.
  • Having some fly strips left over from last year, as I’ve been leaving the doors and windows open. One day I will have screens on them all, but that is not today, so fly strip. Fashionable and decorative element to my kitchen. Laughing at myself.
  • Finding socks that match.
  • Knowing the easy way to fold a fitted sheet.
  • Coral bells and fairy’s lace blooming in pots outside my front door. I don’t know what the fairy’s lace really is; the leaf looks like the coral bells, but the blossom is a pale pink and many tiny flowers on a stalk like lace, and when I was a kid that’s what I called it.
  • Sedums blooming below the potted coral bells, like snow beneath a sunset.
  • Watching the Portland Rose Festival Starlight Parade on TV. The luxuries of modern technology.
  • Scones and cheese.
  • Fresh leaf lettuce.
  • Everyday blessings.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

This entry was posted in abundance, Aging, Family, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, History, Nature, Photography, Poetry, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Play Nice and Share Your Thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.