The Great Gratitudes

It has been a challenge getting to the internet while I’ve been on the road. Right now I am on wifi in active, energized and noisy Starbucks in Palm Springs, California.

My 93 year old mother took a dip in the last 2 months and my brother and I are getting her settled into a facility here in the desert. Mom has been healthy and cognizant all her life. She worked until she was 72. She remained very active in the years after that and the suddenness of the dip came as a surprise to me.

As I awakened this morning reflecting on all of these things, my heart rose up in thankfulness. I have seen with deep insight the true beauty and the seasons of this gift called life.

There are the years of childhood with its hopes and dreams of a future of one’s choosing. Then there is the time of family and the ‘command and control’ years of professional life and career. These are followed by the play and harvest of your earlier work years. And finally the waning years and, if you are lucky enough to live that long, comes the season of frailty and the realization of vulnerability.

And so my thoughts turned to my Great Gratitudes – the things above all things that I am most grateful for in life. It was with humility and appreciation that I reflected on these as I was rising in the early desert dawn. This entire piece and what follows are directly from my morning journal.

  1. Mental Health – This includes strength of mind and memory. Clear cognitive ability and the ability to stay mentally focused. My uncle is 101 years old and he is still clear minded.
  2. Physical Health – If you have it , keep it with diet and exercise. Because if you live long enough you will need your body to be as healthy as possible for as long as possible. I know because I have 5 living relatives over the age of 95. My mother is not included in that number because she is youngest of all at 93.
  3. Emotional Health – This includes a high level of optimism and joy for both fill the heart and support every aspect of health and well being. The other aspects of emotional health that I am most grateful for are patience, self-control and resilience.
  4. Social Health – For me, I am ever thankful for family, friends and loved ones as well as the inner gifts of compassion and empathy. My daily prayer is that my heart be gentle and full of understanding and that my soul be giving and forgiving.

May all the seasons of your life be filled with awe, wonder and gratefulness. And may all of us be thankful for each day for these days of our lives are passing more quickly then we know.

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