Bird Droppings March 30, 2018
Gratitude is more than a word it is an action
“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.”
Chief Seattle, 1854
Back in the preretirement years on most mornings I would be driving to school about five thirty or so in the morning. However being in retirement my mornings have changed somewhat. I still get up at forty thirty make breakfast for everyone, pack lunches, get gas for my wife, and other assorted duties but I stay home. So it is six forty five in the morning and I am sitting writing. I by chance got a photo of a brilliant red maple tree shining in the rising sun a few days ago. Red maples of course are red in fall but in spring their seeds are red as well and before dropping to float away as maples seeds do the color is wonderful. I have been lucky now for nearly a week since daylight savings time and enjoy the sunrises a bit later when they have been around between rain drops.
It is a powerful time of day as the sunrise appears, it is though you can watch and listen to the awakening of everything. When I was at school I could step out to bus lane standing facing east to take in the full effect of the sunrise, cars and business sounds humming and popping around me might distract some but I could always focus on the rising sun. So for today according to weather I should be able to enjoy and listen to the world awake that will be nice.
It has been a few weeks since I was photographing and literally drove nearly sixty miles around the area looking for images of the sun coming up at one point a lone bird started chirping and soon another and within minutes I was visually and auditorily committed to a new day.
“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.” Meister Eckhart
It is only a few days ahead that as I will be waking up the morning and most others will be sleeping in for spring break. With the Easter holiday near and the religious connotations I was thinking about gratitude. When I saw Eckhart’s quote about a month ago my first thought was to use it on Thanksgiving Day but literally after reading further should most prayer or for nonreligious folk thinking be one of thanks rather than supplication. But I really think it goes beyond a single day of giving thanks and Spring break, Easter weekend, springtime is a point of reference in cultures worldwide of thanks. Winter has ended and it is time to plant the new crops.
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” Melody Beattie
“Feeling grateful or appreciative of someone or something in your life actually attracts more of the things that you appreciate and value into your life.” Northrup Christine
Being grateful opens doors and allows people in. We live in such a protectionist society and reality. We are always trying to protect our own area of influence and self. However gratefulness can lift you up and take you beyond where you are now to another level.
“Gratitude is the heart’s memory.” French Proverb
“It is another’s fault if he is ungrateful, but it is mine if I do not give. To find one thankful man, I will oblige a great many that are not so.” Seneca
Gratitude requires giving and in giving we are also offering of ourselves and building up within ourselves.
“The human contribution is the essential ingredient. It is only in the giving of oneself to others that we truly live.” Ethel Percy Andrus
“It is possible to give without loving, but it is impossible to love without giving.” Richard Braustein
Life is about giving, sometimes what you offer to others is simply how and where you are placed in life and many times that provides the vehicle for your journey deeper and through life and offers direction for others. Sadly we live in a world of hedonistic self- centered people who pride greed over all else. Profit at any cost is a driving force. No concern for anyone other than money. I watched the president brag about his business prowess and then lawsuits come forth based on venders being paid less than contractually agreed. Bragging about how that is good business negotiating right to final payment even after project is completed. Small businesses going under who couldn’t take monetary hit. Bragging about renegotiating on fighter planes and Air force one. Both deals had already been done. Children see this type of behavior and accept as normal. If you have power do what you want, period. Ethics morality becomes a mote point.
“In helping others, we shall help ourselves, for whatever good we give out completes the circle and comes back to us.” Flora Edwards
“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” Kahlil Gibran
So often we think of giving as money or food, as we saw families begging at the shipping center yesterday. A family stood in front of a store asking for money for food and rent, while playing the accordion and singing. However in reality giving of oneself, that is the hardest and the most rewarding. I recall listening to war stories my father would tell. These would be heart wrenching stories of World War II and his own journey in life. I have read many books and heard others tell of their service and time serving our country. It is in caring about people and sharing through offering of one’s life that is much harder than simply providing a dollar or a can, the gratitude comes back within and through our hearts.
“He who obtains has little. He who scatters has much.” Lao Tzu
“A handful of pine-seed will cover mountains with the green majesty of forests. I too will set my face to the wind and throw my handful of seed on high.” Fiona Macleod
As I am pondering the words from The Art of War, written thousands of years ago and from another more recent Scottish author and writer William Sharp who wrote for a number of years as Fiona McCleod I am reminded of so many childhood friends who in serving died. As I think of the warriors who have given their all, at times in controversy and often only because they believed they were doing what is right. It is the memories and pain we carry that gives us hope. When forester’s timber areas, often they will leave several healthy older trees to seed the remaining land. I have been in areas where clear cutting save for a few tree, has occurred and several years later a new forest has begun. But it is so important to plant seeds and to scatter them as to be a friend and to let friendships grow. When I can I do tell the stories told by my father and I do recall and tell of my friends exploits. I tell stories of warriors of old who fought and die for what they believed fighting for families and country. I give thanks each day as I walk and greet the sun.
“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” Mother Teresa
“The more credit you give away, the more will come back to you. The more you help others, the more they will want to help you.” Brian Tracy
“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” Edith Wharton
I remember a candlelight service so many years ago, one person carefully started with a lit candle and handed their light to another’s candle and each in turn went through the room lighting another’s and soon the room was filled with light. We are much like a candle light service if we share our light and love, and pass it on to the person next to you. It is to say thank you when you receive from another and offer always to another. I will end with a simple thought and prayer for a day of honoring all warriors past, present and future.
“When you were born, you cried, and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.” White Elk
So often life hands us unexpected surprises, gratitude extends and magnifies those times. Please as we get into this coming holiday season keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and always give thanks namaste.
My family and friends I do not say this lightly,
(We are all related)