gratitude-a-thon day 2001: feeling better

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I had some sort of ridiculous sinus infection, followed by what now apprears to have been a virus for the past six weeks (confirmed by two visists to primary care physician, one to ENT, one sinus CAT scan and two ineffective rounds of antibiotics with a side of steroids) which had me battling a headache nearly every day. NEARLY. EVERY. DAY. Sometimes the headaches became migraines with a double helping of nausea. I even had two ocular migraines in one week, that made my hands shake (for those of you who don’t know about this fresh hell, here you go: your eyes are blinded with flashing lights that zigzag and form starbursts and other bizarre shapes  for about half an hour before you get the pain. Think major lightning storm meets LSD trip.

BUT FOR THE LAST THREE DAYS I HAVEN’T HAD A HEADACHE!

It is time for a fucking parade! The No Headache Parade, in which all the wonderful things in life march down the middle of my street. Because by the time this headache virus thingy had reached the six week mark, I had forgotten there was anything wonderful in the world.  Life had become one big oversized vat of grotesque smelly garbage, much like the current presidency. Yes, that bad. Maybe even worse. Although I don’t know if there is worse, so scratch that.

Anyway, cue up the drum corp. and get the baton twirlers, line up the coffee, the yoga class, kindness from a stranger, the multi-colored leaves, especially the red ones, a heaping plate of pasta smothered in Bolognese, blue skies, a walk by the water and a great book, the I DO NOT HAVE A HEADACHE parade is about to start. And not a moment too fucking soon, might I add.

 

gratitude-a-thon day 2000: look for it: gratitude

 

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Gratitude does not always announce itself. It isn’t always like a big parade through Time Square, or the mayhem of Mardi-Gras, or the fourth of July celebration on the Esplanade in Boston with those big cannons capping off the event that always make me shiver. It’s not always as loud as Roger Stone, doesn’t come on as strong as Joan Rivers used to, and it doesnt normally hit you with like, that Bob Mackie feathered head dress Cher wore to the 1986 Oscar’s.

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Yeah, gratitude can be obvious, as in that lump you find that turns out to be “nothing,” or an unexpected windfall of cash from a relative you barely knew, or finding out that rattling in your car you thought would cost you a bundle, happens to be on warranty.

Most of the time, you gotta look for that sucker. In the wind, in the daily stuff that occurs, but that’s easy to ignore. You need to look in the back of your pantry, in your child’s hopeful eyes, in your own backyard. Gratitude is often hiding in the small cracks of your life, where light peaks through, but that you might have to get out your detective magnifying glass to see.

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But to stay sane these days, to be happy if you’re a sensitive type, or even if you’re not, this, I have found,  is our job. What we have vs. what we don’t have is money in the bank. To focus on that is to focus on hope in a world that can sometimes appear to have gone off its meds. To be in the present with unexpected horror and unspeakable sadness, is to take a look around at what is yours, the verdant green of the grass growing beneath our feet, the thermometer on your wall that you touch and creates heat, those bed sheets that feel like a silk chemise dress a 40’s movie siren used to wear.

Has it ever been more necessary to be grateful, to do a Linda Blair-in-The-Exorcist-360 head-turn and see all you have? I think not. Find it, nurture it, make a practice of it. It’s yours all the time. I needed a reminder today. I thought you might, too.