This morning as I brushed my teeth, I glanced at the bottles of supplements and hormone replacement creams and I felt an upwelling of gratitude for the human brilliance and resilience that figured this stuff out! The researchers in the lab, the machinery to make it, and the regulations to make it safe – all the way to the packaging and delivery systems. If you stop to think about it, it’s stunning.

A friend posted a photo of the over 25 pill bottles filled with drugs her husband needs to take for the rest of his life to keep his new lung working. He got a lung transplant last month, during the pandemic. When I saw the photo yesterday, my reaction was, “Oh my God, how horrible!” Now I’m thinking, what an incredible miracle that humans figured out what will keep him alive and healthy.

Why has my attitude changed?

Honestly, I’m not sure. I keep a daily gratitude practice because, as I’ve written before, gratitude makes us happier. Because I’ve been doing it for years, I don’t think I can attribute a sudden change in attitude to my daily answering of:

  • What did I enjoy today?
  • What am I grateful for today?

This positive feedback loop seems more crucial these days, with the catastrophic events in America since the siege on the Capitol and the unfathomable destruction caused by the virus.

The only factor that’s different in my daily practice is my spotty participation in the January Practice session from Upaya Zen Center.

I would give myself a “C.”

(I can hear my parents’ voices whispering, “C’s are unacceptable in this house!” from the great beyond!)

The Zen schedule has practice periods on and off all day long – 8 of them! I made the mistake of sticking them all into my calendar, so I can see how many of the time blocks I am failing to attend. I am, however, listening to all the Dharma talks (teachings) from an incredible array of teachers. I’m also plowing through the suggested reading, some of which are incomprehensible while others are great sleep aids, as the history of each Zen master from the beginning of time clicks by like reading chapters in the bible where this person begets that person and on and on, except they get fabulous titles after they die.

There’s one little book that is such a treasure I can’t put it down, Three Simple Lines by Natalie Goldberg. I’m so glad I got the actual book, not the Kindle version. It’s about Haiku, those tiny 3-line poems that can open time and space in the mind of the reader.

I’m wondering whether that might be happening… that a small wedge of space has opened that allowed me to see the pill bottles and have gratitude arise, instead of negativity.

Please share your thoughts. . .