It will be Thanksgiving in two days. Thinking about this, I notice that for me there’s a delicious cycle between gratitude and generosity: One feeds the other. When I take stock of all my blessings and feel grateful for them, it tends to fill me with the kind of positive energy I want to share with others. And then when I do, this in turn helps me to see how much I have to be grateful for.
It’s worth noting, therefore, that this holiday’s name contains both concepts.
Today, taking stock, I find myself thankful for the following things:
** My wife, who is alive and as full of life-giving energy as ever. Her presence in my life continues to subvert my cynicism and alter my consciousness.
** My times: What a blessing to have been alive during these experience-rich decades! (Would I trade in the youth I had for being young again now? I suspect I’d feel shortchanged if I did.) I’ve known a whole spectrum of experience — of work, play, states of mind, and connections romantic, social, and even trans-personal. And of as much inner travel as outer. A time where there happened to have been available powerful, innovative ways to heal the wounds of my youth. And where I’ve had the freedom and opportunity to change my life’s direction at mid-course. What a trip so far!
** My town: I live in a borough bursting with renewed life and creative exuberance, and a mere 30 minutes from the center of the universe. Latest discovery: The Rubin Museum of Tibetan Art, in Chelsea. (Single Alert: go on a Friday Night!)
** My communities: A Jewish community that knows how to live…and that gave me the God that I’m grateful to for everything; a men’s community that teaches me how to take a stand; dig deep; be a crazy motherfucker. And an explorational community that knows how to celebrate life like there’s no tomorrow.
** My music: I’ve got a collection full of folk, jazz, R&B (the old, real R&B), big band, blues, chill out, country, disco, electronica, trip hop, reggae, rock, soul and oldies. Everything from Gershwin to Gaga, and from Beatles to Bechet. And these days I can carry it all in my pocket! Unbelievable!
** My job, where I can give back, meet wonderful people, experiment intimately, and learn constantly.
** My blog: Where I share my most intimate musings with people in every corner of my life, and hear back from them about it. What a way to stay connected! And play with ideas! This, for example, is a response from “Ed” to last week’s post about orgasm:
“I could really relate to your experience of being connected with all the previous climaxes you’ve had with all the previous women you’ve been with. There’s something about sex that transcends personal relationships so that when you have an orgasm you are transported to a place beyond not only your own ego but your partner’s ego. So no one “owns” an orgasm the way you might “own” your partner in a “relationship” that has a beginning and an end.
Now there’s a concept!
** My future: I live in anticipation of slowing down and experiencing the kind of peace that some old men know, as they come to lie and luxuriate in the bed they made. And I’m also looking forward to developing mindfulness and simplicity as a lifestyle, and accessing that very still, dark, quiet center inside. The center from which all my dramas play themselves out – as dramas; from which my life’s path actually looks like a path; and from which my birth, and youth, old age and death are all part of the same fabric, all of them appearing simultaneously and without me assigning them any particular preference or significance. (Did I just write that? Do I understand it? I know I have sat in this center for brief moments, and that I look forward to more of them.)
These additional things come to mind that I’m also grateful for:
** Romeo The Cat
** 4 ½ people: 2 ½ Men plus 2 Broke Girls
** Bill Maher and John Stewart
** Thomas L. Friedman
** Dental floss
** Louis Jordan
** Prospect Park Lake
** Leonard Cohen
** Sasha Shulgin
** Ram Dass
** Ron DeAngelo
** My brother and his son Daniel
** Sudden, surprise smiles from strangers
And finally, getting back to this blog, I’m thankful for you, without whom my words would land like a falling tree in a deserted forest, without a sound.