Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Appreciating Alive

So I'm taking a job with less pay so I can free up my time and energy to focus more on writing. I’ve been in job transition lately, stuffed into the narrow cone of my frightened thoughts about the future. Will I have enough money? Can I pay for food, the house, the car? Will my children grow up living in cardboard boxes?

Two nights ago, I watched Gravity. After an hour and half of heart-pounding adrenaline and one impossible situation after another, with the main character finally reaching Earth and reveling in the simple fact that she is alive. Breathing air. Feeling water on her skin, sunlight on her face. She was overcome by the gloriousness of simply being alive.

The movie made my fears fall away. I sat back and realized that I already have the best of what there is to have on Earth, once I strip away the veils of torture I had laid over myself. I can give this gift to myself every waking moment, if I’m vigilant, by appreciating little things. These days I’m so barraged by the overwhelming stimulus of our society (facebook, Twitter, radio commercials, online articles about which celebrity had a fashion disaster or released naked photos online, the desperation of this political party or that, a billboard telling me I need the new, cool shoes), that it’s sometimes hard to know what to appreciate. What should I like? What is the right thing? But turning my face into the sun and feeling the joy of living right here, right now; it’s a gift. I get to appreciate it, or I can allow fear to make paradise a horror.

I know there are bad things happening in the world, but there are great things, too. I would love to say “just because I focus on the bad things doesn’t make them any larger or more important than the great things”, except the truth is: it does. I have firsthand experience that it does. My attention creates my world. So I’m determined to create a better world. For myself. As an example for my children to follow. Choosing happiness just because I want to be happy, because I can, if I'm vigilant, because there are so many things to be happy about. I am filled with appreciation and gratitude for the advanced gift I already get.

I’m alive, and while that admission may seem like the base level of what we get, the least that we can expect, the floor-level platform upon which to pile the really good stuff (fine meals at a restaurant, vacations to exotic locations, a sexy romantic night, a trip to Disneyland) I am happy to say in this moment of realization: It’s the very most of what we get. It’s the joy at the center of it all.

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