Gratitude doesn’t promote suffering, it sees it for what it is. I feel grateful for the stars.

I feel grateful for the giant star, the sun, that gives us life, warmth, a feeling of calmness in the midst of chaos.

I feel like I appreciate more in one day now than all the earlier decades of persistently demanding things outside to change.

I appreciate my skin for holding it all together. I appreciate my eyesight to see beauty.

My hands to feel water

My nose to smell growing grass and the mulch I spread around my vegetables.

My heart to feel its openness and its closedness

My ears to hear the soft winds, to hear the silent breezes, to hear the majestic sounds that emanate from many musical instruments.

I appreciate my memories for they allow me to learn. I appreciate my voice to speak from the heart, to be gentle and vulnerable when the time arises, to be loud and forceful when the times require it, to whisper soft loving sounds to my lover.

I appreciate the wisdom of not knowing, to be still enough in the mystery to unfold deeper and deeper.

I appreciate my bones, my veins, these organs, all of this being named a human being, heavy yet enlightened, mysterious yet knowing, Spirit yet physical.

Humbled. I lose sight of this preciousness.

When did it slip away from my/our awareness?

Who was it who removed from our eyes to see the majesty of the world, from the insects to the universe? I appreciate the rituals to help us remember.

I appreciate the smoking sage that unlocks normality to enter into deeper conversations. I appreciate words on paper that stimulate my mind, thoughts, ideas, the preciousness of imagination, as flame in a world of darkness, oh more love, of more spirited and free playfulness for all ages.

Words and ideas that can trigger deep memories of being here before, new pathways to see an imagined world of the future, and to also see the words and feel that still point of being present in this now.

I appreciate the newness of old concepts like Joy, love, friendship, lovers…

The fresh newness is upon our lips every moment of our waking hours and days.

We get old only when we think old.

We stay young in spirit from how we answer the why’s and in that sense the why’s are wise.

Perhaps experiencing forms of death and dying can trigger this gratitude I speak of, a profound appreciation for this moment, these people, these laws no matter how flawed they may appear to be.

Yet they are all here for a reason. Hopefully we are evolving and stretching to become what we see and desire.

Struggle becomes calmness, anger becomes softened, tears open us, gentleness allows spaciousness.

Clothes warm the body.
Mind allows space.
Beauty nudges us to love.
Sadness nudges us to its twin opposite of happiness.

The light appreciates the darkness. The darkness appreciates the light.

The moon reflects the sunshine —
We are all things, we are all insects and blood and cells and organs that work into our interdependent body, it moves, it breathes, it seeks solitude, it seeks Joy, it seeks wonder and lost mystery.

Appreciation increases our wisdom.

Gratitude welcomes us into the inner circles of beingness.

Knowing that we are no longer alone and isolated, for we all are one.

I am so thankful to have a body that can dance and walk and swim and run and jump and play and work and study and read and love and sleep.

Ecstatic Dance West Marin

To kiss the sky as my knees touch the earth in gratitude for this mystery of speaking into a computer for words to appear on a screen in the hopes that they are shared with another being who may also resonate with these words.

But it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t, the point is now, the point is being alive and breathing now whether I am poor, middle-class, or wealthy. I have a body who agrees to complain, to appreciate, to love in this moment right here and now, no matter what the situation is.

I appreciate all the labor that goes on in the world to make life more comfortable.

I appreciate people who rise up to act (or rise to act up), to plan a better future, to stimulate conversations, to expose wrongdoings, to inflame this seeming solidity of homeostasis.

I appreciate the sacred plants that can heal our disconnection, and the people who transmit ceremonies from thousands of years ago to today and beyond.

I so appreciate the organizers, the occupiers, the activists who wish to right the wrongs; I appreciate the petty tyrants so we can learn how to respond to the stronger tyrants — to meet them and no longer shudder.

I appreciate the farmers who till the fields to grow our veggies and to milk the cows and goats and sheep and who calmly make the cheese and prepare the meats and eggs and grain and do appreciate all the dieters who think they know what is right for us to eat and drink.

I appreciate the filmmakers who get passionate about a subject, to put their life energies and money on the line into educating us. I appreciate the activists who move out of complacency to show us another world that can be better, and that is better.

I’m grateful for the peacemakers who have decided to make peace within themselves as well as promoting an outer peacefulness.

I appreciate the instigators and initiators of such things as flash mobs, pay it forward, local currencies, gift economies, CSA’s, Facebook causes, potluck parties, new forms of taking care of our basics: new shelters, new forms of healing and health, food, clean water, space, artistic creativity, new stories, new plays, new dramas, bodily dance moving movements, spiritual regeneration, laughter and bliss.

I appreciate the highways, the cars, the trains, the buses, the bicycles–all sorts of ways for the human to move, to connect, to spread our love, our energetic momentum, our instinctual movement to evolve…

I appreciate the whistleblowers, investigators, and researchers getting to the bottom of the stories and beyond… I appreciate the meditation cushions or chairs or benches so we can sit and breathe and breathe and sit and allow emptiness and energy to have its time and attention with us, to possibly see and feel the more expansive side to the ordinary.

I appreciate the musicians who seek and find the melodies or beats or collective melodies and rhythms to move us to move, to inspire the heart to open, to majestically move us in to higher realms. I bow to you.

I bow to the reader who has given time and space to read these handwritten sketchings on a paper page transferred to digital data coming to you in this now.

Thank you, thank you.

Bob Banner