“Gratitude turns what we have into enough.” – Anonymous.
When I started my meditation practice today, it was a bit chilly. (By South India’s standards, not Michigan standards). I meditate on the roof, facing a wall. As has been the case over the last month or so, my meditation is all over the place. I don’t know where it should be, what this ‘place’ is even, but it’s easy to judge, so I sit and judge my practice. I don’t observe my thoughts. I follow the storylines wherever they go. I fantasize. I ruminate. I imagine conversations. “What crap,” I think.
I cross and uncross my legs. I am so restless I would give a 2-year-old a complex. “Breath, breath,” I tell myself. And that’s when I feel a gentle warmth on my back. I open my eyes, and the sun is out, peeking in through a corner of the buildings behind. It casts its yellow mirth on the wall and, in doing so, lights up my soul. Do you know that deliciousness of having the sun on your back? For that minute, I forget all the crap, dust, and sewage of my life and allow that warmth to be. I realize just how incredibly lucky I am to have this hour to sit still at all, even if it doesn’t appear still at all.
I wrote in my last blog post how I am unable to write. The words seem to retreat just when I try to call them up. But it’s not that I can’t write. No. I am lying to myself. It’s just that I can’t write in some beautiful, poetic way that flows the rivers of thoughts in my mind into art. I can still write, though.
What a terrible burden of self we carry – these standards of reaching somewhere, of being someone, of continually seeking to be better.
Take a deep breath. Feel that warmth of the sun. It’s enough to be. Beauty is not in the expression, but it’s in the effort. It takes courage to get up and do what we can in the messy, imperfect, chaotic, absurd ways we have right now. So beautiful.
Here’s what September was to me:
We struggled with falling revenues and cash flow.
My sister, brother-in-law, and nephew all tested positive for Covid-19.
My mother’s on three insulin injections a day, and her doctor dies by suicide when we go for a check-up. AND we realize he had also allegedly killed his mother and sister last year by injecting them with an overdose of insulin in some euthanasia pact.
A VIP client ended the Zoom call in anger at apparent shoddiness on my part.
The Amazon India CFO called a post I wrote, “ok but not great.” How lovely for my ego.
I was diagnosed with shoulder tendonitis and sacroiliac arthritis, making sitting for long periods painful and numbing my toes when I go running.
In between, old feelings of anger, hurt, and rejection came back to accompany me.
I had a million bills to pay – insurance, internet, phone, taxes.
There. You might think that I had a terrible month.
What I found instead:
I found incredible joy that my loved ones had only mild cases of the virus.
I felt so grateful that I tested negative, and most importantly, my vulnerable parents are fine.
I was showered with rain and kissed by the sun.
I ran on roads blanketed with Bangalore’s glorious yellow trumpet flowers. How grateful I was to run at all, even when it was painful.
I did more than 1,000 pushups – how amazing that my broken shoulder allowed me that.
I discovered again and again with gratitude how amazing my friends are: Dave, Karen, Poodle, Birdy, Boy, Nilom, Voozy, Jai, Veena, Shebs, who all were there for me in different ways.
And the online ones who write to me and encourage me in so many ways: Restless, CSD, Sudha, Shrushti, Shreekumar, Jae.
The unknown visitors who visit this blog in their own ways.
We continued to find new clients; ideated a new product; hired a new writer.
I was grateful for all the books I read, that I had so much time to read.
I realized my purpose in life: Practice Kindness as much as possible in all the ways I know.
I listened to my love, Pema Chodron, in an online course, live. Something that would have been impossible without a pandemic.
How grateful I could afford to pay for that course, despite the falling revenues, cash flow, blah blah. I paid every single bill. Ah, how lucky to be able to do that!
I could go on.
But I will stop here. Gratitude is changing my life in small, immeasurable ways.
Our life is incredibly rich, I am finding. We are incredibly beautiful.
When you start looking at all that you have, it’s amazing how “not enough” becomes “more than enough.”
As you read this, I wish for you that you find all you are looking for, and especially, I wish you find more kindness, joy, compassion, beauty, and incredible scars that turn into stars.
May you be well and may you be kind to yourself and others.