Giving Thanks in Tough Times
As I start yet another day by peacefully writing in my gratitude diary, in spite of the slow unraveling of normality (especially out there in the Northern Hemisphere), I realize that there’s so much to be thankful for in my little corner of the world—even if I could do with a lot less heat from this Accra sun.
And as the ceiling fan whirrs the sheen off of my perspiration, I think of all that I could possibly be grateful for and so—smiling—give much aseda (thanks) for the following:
That I’ve never gone hungry.
That I’ve never been chronically or critically ill.
That I’ve never been homeless—even when I was not sure of how I’d pay my rent.
That I’ve always had some form of “happy money”; that is, access to more than one currency that became available to me just as I really needed it—most especially when I was on the edge of broke.
That I’ve never been jobless—except for now, by choice, at this rather long (three-plus-years) moment in which I am determined to develop my own kind of “work that makes life sweet”, much in defiance of the proverbial 9 to 5.
That my life is—and has always been—replete with powerful friendships, intense and meaningful relationships, and the ability to walk away from any toxic connection, at will.
That I’ve never experienced the kind of serious violent trauma that many of my global-(through genetics)-siblings experience daily.
That I can write: my hands move, my brain computes, my eyes see, and all together, I am able to pour forth these words in notebooks made by others, from trees that didn’t know they’d have to die for me to write this small ode to the art and beauty that is my life.
That I am able to sit here in peace, within this rudimentary stream of consciousness, as the birds tweet and chirp (in call-and-response) to whomever would care to listen.
That I have ears to hear such sweet sounds, often missed in too much thinking, upon thinking, upon thinking, upon thinking, upon thinking that I wish I had, or could, or did, and so on.
That—if I want—I can speak, shout, sing out of tune, and generally voice my every opinion, whether you choose to #HearMeToo or not.
That up until now, I’ve been able to surround myself with so many things from crockery, to trinkets, to clothes, to digital devices, to (oh how I love me some) books, to shoes, to lotions and potions, to endless items found through my many travels (both near and far), so much so, I now find myself drowning under the weight of my plenty wants, desires and resultant acquisitions.
That I am (so far) Corona-the-Virus free by sheer coincidence, plus a bit of geographical luck that could easily have been different if I hadn’t booked my Accra-London flight for last week instead of the end of February.
That I, then, still find myself with the luxury of time on this blue-green planet—with already a half-century gone and the possibility of at least one or two more tomorrows.
That I also have an elderly parent who is not only alive, but also still kicking her 80+ weight about in bold and defiant ways—as every intelligent, beautiful, wise and wonderful woman should be able to do, no matter her age.
That my many other loved ones are still with me here on earth, where we must all work out how-in-the-world we are going to transform our current ways of doing, living and being for the better. And we need to do so long before we truly butt our heads at the edge of our “planetary boundary”, because this global pandemic is just a prelude of an immense immune response to us—ruddy human beings who have acted like a rampant virus for centuries, within which we’ve been responsible for the extinction of many organisms, including our very own kind.
That I now find myself seriously trying to unlearn all that has made sense to date re this thing called progress and civilization. And at its core, unthinking—to me—is the answer to the question “Who am I?”, plus How must I embody a different kind of self in preparation for a “Next Economy”, which will be forced upon us if we do not give this planet the gift of a pause from extractivism, accumulation, exploitation, profit-orientation, and more and more infrastructural development that seals all top soil under slabs-and-slabs of concrete and shoves all free running water into reservoirs and pipes or behind dykes and dams, as well as creates all sorts of other conformities that are not to nature’s liking?
That, ultimately, unlearning who I am has also brought me to a semblance of a spiritual journey. It’s not the easiest of pursuits, as it’s (by definition) a pathless path—traveled with so much doubt, confusion and refusal. And yet, it is a space in which I find much gratitude and so too LOVE.