| LOCATION: Relaxing at Menari Coffee on the side of the road amidst rice paddies in Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia |
“May you laugh, even with your tears. May you be loved. May your smiles be returned, and the goodness of others flow to you. May your abundance bless even those you will never meet. May your life hold quiet fulfillment, and abounding joy in others’ successes. May you know those who can simply sit with you in your grief. May you see the dawn and remember the feeling of beginning life. May you see others with love, and in them, yourself.
Years past, I read the poem of an aging Japanese Buddhist nun from 4 centuries ago knowing that the autumn that year would likely be her last. She wove the careful words of her love for having lived 66 autumns, each unique and exquisite to her. At the last, her quiet anguish broke through at how 66 seasons is so brief.
The memory of her poem has stayed with me. Forty-six autumns seems so few when I think of each autumn of my life. 46. It makes each one, and each day of it, more precious to me when I see it this way.
We celebrate Thanksgiving each fall, but I want instead to celebrate Gratitude. Even in my most terrified or private heart-wrenching moments, gratitude has brought me back to myself and opened my heart to life–magnificent and fleeting as it is.
So as I sit here near the equator tonight, the moon full and bright in the November Balinese sky, I am so thankful for each of you I share life with in one way or another. We are connected–and to me this immense gift both humbles me and utterly delights me.
It has made 46 autumns so rich and blessed.