Friday, May 30, 2014


Gust Avrakotos: There's a little boy and on his 14th birthday he gets a horse... and everybody in the village says, "how wonderful. The boy got a horse" And the Zen master says, "we'll see." Two years later, the boy falls off the horse, breaks his leg, and everyone in the village says, "How terrible." And the Zen master says, "We'll see." Then, a war breaks out and all the young men have to go off and fight... except the boy can't cause his legs all messed up. and everybody in the village says, "How wonderful."
Charlie Wilson: Now the Zen master says, "We'll see."

Charlie Wilson’s War

It’s funny how on one day things can look bleak and impossible and on the next, things can look fine.  It helps to get sleep.  It helps when new information comes in and creates a new perspective.  Most of all, it helps to be free of fear and anger.  One of the best ways to do be free of fear and anger is to practice gratitude.  On more than one occasion I have written about the power of gratitude and even included my own list of things for which I’m grateful.  Still, that never gets old and when things are still looking uncertain, it’s good to remind ourselves of this and to practice regularly.
 I just found these statistics: (
·      Happy people’s income is roughly 7% higher
·      Grateful people on average give 20% more time and dollars.
·      Grateful people will have 10% fewer stress-related illnesses, be more physically fit, have blood pressure that is lower by 12%
·      Grateful people are 20% more likely to get “A” grades.
Perhaps all that is another case of  “lies, damned lies and statistics,” as Mark Twain was attributed saying.  Still, I’d rather be happy and grateful because it beats the alternative.  In that vein here are some things I am grateful for:
·      My health
·      God’s love for me
·      My Muse
·      Flowers
·      The beauty of places like the desert, small country towns or small cities
·      The beauty of other people
·      The ability to look for the good in all situations
·      Walking
·      Naps
·      A place to live
·      Books
·      Time
·      Music
·      Good food
·      Laughter
·      The ability to confront a problem and solve it
·      Writing
·      A cold drink on a hot day
·       A hot drink on a cold day
·      Inner peace
·      The ability to learn new things
·      The ability to think differently
·      Art
·      A bed to sleep in
·      A bed that has been made
·      Clean clothes
·      Stars
·      Children
·      Family
·      Friends
·      Being loved
·      Loving others
·      Watching people do their work well
·      Making money

There are more, many more.  What I noticed was that as I was practicing gratitude, my anger was literally forgotten.  (Now it is gone.)  My fear was still there, but it began diminishing.  We can’t have two thoughts at once.  I can feel fear or I can feel gratitude.  I can’t really feel both completely at the same time.  Eventually one has to go.
What is fear anyway?  I have a friend who uses this acronym:
Recently I was confronted with a very unpleasant impossibility. I struggled all day with it.  It may happen and it may not. But the truth is that it hasn’t happened yet.  And if it does, it doesn’t mean something good won’t come out of it.  Maybe the “bad” thing will be a good thing.  Curiously, I’ve had things that I thought were good result in disasters.  And maybe those “disasters” were necessary for something new to occur.  What if all “bad” was only a means to something good, something better?  How would living that out change my life?   Perhaps it would make me far more grateful.  Perhaps it would also help me to appreciate the good in my life, but accept it calmly.
Being grateful helps me to Get Started and to Keep Going in life…for which I am also extremely grateful.