Once a year in America, we are asked to pause to focus on one simple idea: gratitude. Something far too often ignored and seldom practiced. Not because gratitude is a thing of the past but because we live in a culture that relies on the immediacy of technology and the inherent lack of emotional expression. Personally, I’m grateful there are enough of us out there who think this theory is completely obsolete. As we evolve and have opportunity to be more educated, have the world’s knowledge at our fingertips thanks to our laptops and smart devices, it seems a shame to dwindle away the one fragment of decency that we are ALL capable of inhabiting: Grace. So, this year I want to encourage you all to change the way you see the world – if only for a day. Today do not see the hate or the violence or the disdain or apathy or heartache or catastrophic truths continually blinding us. Instead choose to see beauty, hope, love, passion, joy, kindness and above all, empathy.
I decided to focus on the things I am most grateful for, because honestly, sometimes we really need the reminder:
1. I am grateful for breath. The ability to wake up, draw in oxygen and open my eyes to experience life for another day.
2. I am grateful for motherhood. My heart expanded and came to life the minute I became a mom. My daughter is the quintessential essence of love and kindness. She sees the world in a way that continually allows me to see the world as it should be rather than the way it is.
3. I am grateful for imagination. The thriving cyclone of creativity, the well of color and textures; the sound of a note that dances through the air; the strokes of paint now dripping with liberation; the explosion of nature now frolicking on my tongue. If not for imagination, science would cease to be, history would cease to educate us, and artists would fail to inspire. It is the link that binds us.
4. I am grateful for passion. Passion is the core of all that drives my desire … For everything. Passion allows a kiss to be a melting seduction, lips tasting and enticing – it takes a kiss and illuminates every part of your body and suddenly, that kiss is what you fantasize about. Passion is also what drives me to write – words pour out of me like the swell of a dam that is exhausted of isolation and demands to be freed. Passion is my cadence.
5. I am grateful for love. No matter how much loss I endure or heartbreak or disillusion, I am grateful that I cannot stop love from being my primary emotion. Love allows me to see the world romantically and for that, I am eternally grateful.
Love is the unifying element that sees no color, gives in to no fear, and dignifies humanity.
6. I am grateful for equality. We are members of one race and it’s taken far too long for us to understand and embrace that. We are not divided by color of skin or sexual preference. The only thing that divides us is our learned hate of things that we might not understand and honestly, hate – that is in your power to change. This year, finally, we had a triumphant moment where love and equality won and that I am so grateful for. My daughter will not have to know the endless fight as a female nor live in a country that does not recognize same sex love as love – and simply that – and that is a world I dream for her.
7. Lastly, I am grateful for Artists. Chefs. Filmmakers. Designers. Dreamers. Lovers. Visionaries. The world cannot exist without these people and we are all given a sense of awakening because of something each one of them believed in enough to … dream possible.