gratitude-a-thon day 2061: you can count on change

When someone dies, I always think of the line Dorothy says in The Wizard of Oz when she is in Munchkinland, and someone or other has left, “My! People come and go so quickly here!”

Because it’s true. Whether it’s death or divorce, marriage or babies, watching your kids grow up, or a friend move away, we’re in a constant state of flux. This gig is short. None of it lasts.

One of my first cousins, Judy, left the earth yesterday. She was in the end stages of Parkinson’s and fell down and hit her head and valiantly fought, but in the end, she passed. It’s such an awful disease and she had it for a long time. She is free now, free of that body that was bogging her down.

Because I am the youngest of all of my first cousins, there are many who are much older than I am, like Judy, who was 86. Because of the age difference (although she was fucking ageless, looking truly beautiful until the end), I have always been much closer to her daughter, who is my age. To me, Judy was glamorous and fashionable and warm with an amazing talent for design, a deep spirituality, good energy, and an easy laugh–a progressive and true original. I fully imagine that Judy will give heaven a design makeover worthy of its name.

Gratitude for those who come and those who go, as we learn to embrace the changes that keep rolling in. This is one of our tasks here, to recognize the impermanence and have at it while it’s fresh–to be with someone in the now-ness.



gratitude-a-thon day 2060: rebirth


Easter was yesterday. Growing up with an Italian Catholic mom and a Jewish Dad who both gave up their religions when they married, in a town where everybody was Catholic and if you wanted to play on Sunday’s you went to church, Easter in our house was defined by my dad selling Easter Flowers at his antique store and gargantuan Easter baskets stuffed full of candy with dollar bills hidden in the fake grass and a dinner that always featured ham, but no religion. We didn’t attend church, much to my disappointment, because who didn’t want a fancy new Easter outfit, shiny mary janes and the best part of all, an Easter bonnet. “Can’t we just be Catholic today?” I’d think. (Yup, I’ve always been about the clothes and my mom did indulge me when I was young, in fact, I remember a certain wide-brimmed Easter bonnet, all white with a classic blue ribbon hanging down my back like I wore it this morning).

What I took with me to my adulthood, was an Easter that coincided with Spring, that season of hope and rebirth, and so for my kids, who also grew up without formal religion, Easter was about the same big baskets, but along with the candy, there’d small presents, like a Christmas stocking and gift certificates. And the celebration part was more in line with the newness of the season, the beauty and optimism so synonymous with Spring, and oh yeah, ham.

As time has passed, it still is Spring I celebrate on Easter, but it now weighs on me more heavily, that chance to begin again. I mean that rebirth theme is a powerful one. Because who doesn’t want to do better, or know they can change course–that it is never too late?

Gratitude lies in the Easter/Spring message that you can move forward on a better path on any day, get a do-over, start fresh. Yes, Spring is like a shiny new bike, ready to take you where you want to go, as long as you’re ready to paddle your ass off.


gratitude-a-thon day 2059: hahahah


I cannot adequately express the gratitude I have for laughing, for looking at the funny side, for allowing humor to lift me up when my spirits are sagging like that plant you keep forgetting to water.

Stupid, bad, totally shit things happen all the time to all of us. Stuff that’s painful and absurd and disturbing. Events that force you to change tracks just when you thought things were going swimmingly. Conditions that turn the whole shebang all upside down and inside out. And honestly, the only way I have been able to get through uninvited misery is by standing back and just laughing at it.

Life can be so fucking serious. But if you can find a way to joke about something as challenging as death, or disease, somehow, comfort and perspective show up and bring all their funny friends. When hideous events occur, that you can’t even imagine, not even on your best imagining day, and you can somehow laugh at them, you are setting yourself up to survive them. If you can lighten up, after you cry seventeen buckets of tears, you can laugh. And if you can laugh, you can get through just about any insanity that comes down the pike. Laughing is a lone mint in the bottom of your bag, when your breath could kill an entire train of subway riders–it can save your life.

So, gratitude for the ability to find the funny, even when it seems to be impossible, hidden, on vacation. If you can put a flashlight to a giggle, you can keep going, no matter what.


gratitude-a-thon day 2058: patience, or lack there of


It’s that time of year when the park I raised my kids in, gets a new crop of babies and toddlers and pulls me back to decades ago, a time I can feel just as easily as I can feel the hair on top of my head at this moment (which only a week out, is already showing my fucking gray roots).

I walk my dog in that same park that was the site of so much of my family’s history. Without large yards, we all flocked to the park for space, camaraderie, birthday parties and adult conversations.

I scan the new crop. There are mamas that glow with pride as they carefully watch their children stiff legged toddle in the sandbox learning to share, throw sand, navigate the world beyond their cribs. There are tentative moms with worried looks and jaded mothers on their phones, who seem like they could care less, as their kids dart around the playground equipment like shooting stars.

What I see now, is how impatient I felt back then (this has always plagued me). How nervous I was to lose my place in the world while I was taking care of a young family. I search for myself in those moms and realize that the ones I gravitate toward are those who gently allow their children to be, those who seem to be perfectly present.

Age offers insights. And sometimes they’re not pleasant. My mommying lacked patience. There it is. Deep in the messiness and sleepless nights of parenthood, I thought having young kids would never end. I took on the mantle as if I would have it forever. But of course, nothing lasts forever and soon, my kids were older, more independent, allowing me to have a little of that, too. But hindsight asks what had I missed out on?  What had my impatience prevented me from experiencing? And most importantly, what effect did it have on my kids?

I want to tell those overwhelmed doppelgangers to slow it on down, to stop worrying about losing their careers and to try their damndest to be in that park with those kids. But they won’t be able to listen, just as I couldn’t hear a thing back then, except for my own voice in my own head wondering when I could go to sleep. Gratitude for the ability to see yourself with clarity as you stack up the years. It makes you boldly face the pain of not having done better, but allows you to do better now.



gratitude-a-thon day 2058: it’s spring


If you live in California, you just don’t understand. If you live in Mexico (any of the three Mexican countries!) you won’t get it. If you reside in the everyday lush, warm, sunny skies of Hawaii, you won’t have the foggiest notion of what I’m talking about.

But if you live in Boston, or any other place where there are four seasons, you will probably feel me. I am talking about Spring. I am talking about the hope and optimism that heats up my down coat-covered soul when the crocuses pop out of the dirt, the temperatures begin to rise and the sun stays up there in the sky longer and longer. I am talking about the feeling of possibility this season brings on. I am wildly inspired by it every year. It doesn’t ever get old. It’s like Christmas morning to a five-year-old combined with a jewelry shopping spree and an all-you-can-eat pasta bar in Italy.

I am not a winter girl. I am a warm weather only person. I am in season right now. And holy gratitude for that.