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On Gratitude

I have dreamt of this.

This. A four-year old boy, digging in the sand, building a castle (“for the mice”) with his dad.

This. A ten-month old boy, sitting in the freshly-cut grass, picking miniature wildflowers with plump baby fingers and tickling his own nose.

This. A six year-old dog, lounging in the shade of a soccer net, happily guarding the family that loves her.

This. A hammock in a tree, swaying in the breeze, carrying the spirit of Mexico in its fibres.

This. A barren garden turning green as seeds transform into life, into food, into sustenance with a little help from Sun, with a little help from Water.

(This is a magic show, I tell myself. Watch closely. This is a magic show.)

I have dreamt of this.

This. A small, simple house made of yellow brick and white siding, not far from a lake, a park, a forest path.

This. A lilac tree, maple tree, oak tree providing quiet companionship and constant, necessary rooting.

This. A swing set, purchased from a neighbour, equipped to hold three littles and two adults (and the marrow-deep knowing that another little is meant to manifest, someday).

This. A woman, a mother, a self-proclaimed “collector of experiences” experiencing it all, feeling it all, finally understanding that this sensitivity—this thing she worried about for years—has become (has always been) her saving grace.

This. A Sunday morning. A sapphire sky. A French-pressed coffee. A singing robin.

I have dreamt of this.

But as I dreamt, I also wondered: Would this be enough?

Would this be enough for the eight year-old girl who imagined changing the world, somehow? Would this be enough to feed the fire of her own heart?

Would this be enough happy? Enough adventure? Enough learning and unlearning? Enough expansion? Enough magic?

I was in Arizona when I first touched upon the answer, when I first felt the inklings of a yes.

My friend Laura and I were hiking in the rocky Sedona desert, following a Shaman and befriending the beings—visible and invisble—that surrounded us. Near the end of the walk, the Shaman asked us to close our eyes and to call up our deepest wish.

I closed my eyes and saw a woman, a man, three teenaged kids, a dog, sitting on a dock, overlooking a lake, smiling into the sunset. The overwhelming sensation was peace. The overwhelming emotion was love, pure and simple.

In that moment I knew that the woman was me. That the man was Yves. That the three kids were ours. And that if I continued to courageously trust life, it would lead me exactly where I was meant to be.

To here. To this.

I have dreamt of this. Envisioned this. Saw this hovering in front of me in the pink Sedona desert.

And it is enough. It is blessing upon extroardinary blessing.

And because a sensitive person is a noticing person, I notice. Every day, I utter a thousand thank yous. And on the hard days, I utter a thousand more.

(And on the really hard days, when the whole precious world feels broken and I feel broken most of all, I place my hand on my heart and know that the gesture is a prayer, and that the prayer is thank you, still.)

And what I am learning, now, is this:

When the daily prayer is thank you, Life rises up to meet you.

It meets you exactly where you are and presents you with opportunities and synchronicities so wild that you cannot help but believe. And this believing carries you to the next-right-thing, the next-brave-thing, the next-beautiful-thing on the path.

It’s a strange phenomenon, but it is quickly becoming one of the truest things I know.

And not because I have read about it, or heard about it, but because I am living it, breathing it, paying really close attention to the miracle of it.

I have dreamt of this.

This. A peaceful mind, a peaceful heart, a peaceful sense of belonging among the big and small creatures of this world.

This. An unshakeable faith in Something Greater (that I choose to call God) and an ongoing conversation with Her.

This. A happy marriage. Healthy kids. A handful of great friends. Meaningful work. Words.

This. A simple life that feels anything but small.

This. A Sunday morning, a summer breeze, and the gift of a quiet moment to feel gratitude for it all.

"My predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved. I have been given much and I have given something in return. Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure."

— Oliver Sacks | From his essay My Own Life, written within days of finding out that he might have as little as six months to live, and published in the New York Times.

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