Sharing gratitude to be alive. Multiple musings from simple to complex w/ people, family, music, poetry, pet love, scenic nature, spirituality, health, motivation, & more. Also, find the book in print, on Kindle, and iBook titled A House Inside of Me: Poetry by Marian Elsie Blake (2013) by Mary Blake Huer
Somehow I always associated gratitude with joy, happiness, and thankfulness. Yet recently, I begin to realize that one can have profound gratefulness with deep sorrow. For example, during the pandemic we honor our front line workers for their service in hospitals, but, at times, we are forced to thank them through the tears of memorial services for our loved ones we have lost. When I learned I was ill and probably would die; I was deeply grateful for the good life I had had.
Lately, I am moved by so many people helping each other and cheering when they receive the vaccine, but I feel sad for the priority established for administration of the vaccine, and for all those stories of great human beings who died before their time…
So, our message today is on this day… it will past too soon, and we do not know what tomorrow will bring. I am grateful for today, and for the humanity I see all around me!
My dad was a minister of a fundamentalist church so he was against dancing. He was against dancing because, during his generation, he felt it would lead to “problems” when dating, although before he became a paster he won dance contests (Charleston etc.) and was a wild guy. This photo captures the love between my parents during their twilight years in privacy. I am so happy I have this photo.
Recently, I camped at the Hollywood RV Park in Los Angeles. An artist painted beautiful tributes to the Wizard of OZ throughout the park. This morning, I wonder where the yellow brick road will take you?
I always say that whenever people decided to domesticate dogs from the wolf, it was a brilliant idea! People say that “dog” is “God” spelled backwards and I believe it. Dogs are such good companions to us, our children, to the elderly, to persons in prison, individuals who are ill or are physically challenged. Pets, in general, offer such a wonderful addition to our lives, and contribute to us in many different ways.
I found it interesting to learn that approximately 76% of all households own a pet in comparison to 28% of households (married and single-parent) have children, or 85 million have pets and 35 million have children. In 2017, one (1) billion dollars was spent on private health insurance for pets. Trends in pet dogs is the expansion of the family to include dogs within our everyday activities, routines, and lifestyles.
This morning I woke to bright sunshine. It surprised me so early in the morning as typically the sun begins to shine around 10 a.m. As my morning routine began with a glance at my computer, I found something perfect for today!
Nature Deficit Disorder
What made this phrase so perfect is because I suspect that many of you in Texas, on the East coast, and Canada are experiencing this disorder just about this time of year (February) with the tough winter you have had. The dark, gloomy, cold, chilling winter has given you all a “nature deficit disorder”.
Yesterday was a beautiful day, full of sunshine, so I went to the ocean. The sunset was lovely, families were on the beach, and all seemed well. When I returned home, I flipped on the TV and watched the terrible news about the freezing crisis in Texas, the power outages, the burst water pipes, and I felt awful watching those suffering families.
I wonder how can I feel two emotions, gratitude and empathy, in a matter of moments? Is it ok to feel blessed by the weather near my home while feeling horror watching the weather just a few States away? The suffering of the children in Texas is difficult to watch against the joy of the children on the beaches in California.
Reflecting on the typical symbols and icons on this day, I wondered why the color “red” became so meaningful and learned (with Siri’s help) that red “creates feelings of excitement and intensity”. I know those strong feelings when in love! Then, I read a little more and found that the color “red” “is also used to warn of danger and can symbolize anger or passion (calling to mind the Flames of Love)”. This statement caused me to pause….. It reminded me of my post from yesterday describing the full range of gratitude (from frivolous to serious). I kept reading…
My next question was to understand the association between the heart and valentine, and/or the heart and love. Siri was wonderfully helpful to explain the rich history of the heart and Valentine’s Day (from the shape of an ancient plant to our actual physical hearts in our chests to jewelry and more). When I read about Venus, the goddess of love, I was struck by the story of her son Cupid, whose darts set hearts on fire! Hence, I began to understand the age-old connections between Flames of Love (red) and Hearts on Fire, and a deeper meaning for this very special day began to take shape …
Silly concept we begin with today, but I feel very playful this morning as I dig deeper into all the blog posts, magazines, newsletters, and books on gratitude. Mainly, I hope you are learning that to experience gratitude does not mean that your world may not be crazy around you on some days, but (instead) you are finding moments within all the terrible that are happy, precious, memorable, and meaningful in spite of all the other life’s stuff. Living in a spirit of gratitude does not mean you are serious, or dull, or out of touch with your life. Living in a spirit of gratitude will uplift you, give you joy, send you peace, and, on some days, make you want to jump with joy!
Please focus on the single beam of light projected onto the beach this morning just as day breaks (see the photo above). Out of the vast array of topics on which we might focus today, let’s focus on finding/seeking “joy” in our life which may sometimes feel like the little beam above. Personally, I tend to like to focus on joy more than happiness because joy is a deeper emotion.
Each and every day, I feel full of gratitude because I should be dead, but obviously I’m not. In 2017, I learned I had serious illnesses and thought I had about 7-9 months of life left to live. So, I dutifully prepared all my affairs and accepted my fate, and felt I had lived a good life, wonderful career, great family and waited…. It is a funny feeling to watch other people around you die, but not die yourself. I wondered why and hence have tried to be as helpful to my family and friends and strangers as possible as I “pay it forward” with gratitude for life each and every day. Personally, I was always a planner and looked to the future. Now, I live in the present, and value each and every day, and I do not take each part of each day for granted. My illness was a gift to me. No matter what happens nearly every day, I try to seek out peace, harmony, calm, and thankfulness that I see the sun each day, and the moon at night, and feel the raindrops when it rains, or the winds and storms when they come because I am alive. Being alive beats or overcomes any negative event that may come my way. Each glance from my little Cock-a-poo doggie, every smile from my family or strangers, every story I hear, or conversation in which I engage at Starbucks, or with neighbors, or at the grocery store, fills me with pure joy because I was fortunate to experience that communication event with other people at least one more time… All of you people in my life for which I am grateful. I tell you my background story so you understand where joy comes from, but this blog is not about me, it is about all of you: People stressed by life events everyday. This blog is for you to find a brief moment to meditate, or take a breath, or pause to experience a special moment in time – to capture that memory and burn it into your life because it gave you such happiness, such joy, such pleasure. That moment let you escape briefly from your day. This is your journey in life, your journey to gratitude. Please come and discover your personal gratitude, your healing, your “wow”.