Color me guilty. I didn’t participate in the Facebook Thanksvember…I’m not even sure that’s what it was called. Something to that effect? I’m not a monster. I genuinely smiled when I saw others expressing thanks for their kids, their homes, their lives. I was happy to see a chance for people to look for and ‘status update’ the good in the place of the usual snarky ironic observation that typically comes through my newsfeed. Not to point fingers. I have also sought the easy laugh from my FB BFFs…I too have posted stuff that expresses my disgruntle in a ‘humorous’ way when, ultimately, I’m just looking for someone to commiserate. Why look for such commiseration when we can seek co-celebration? How sad is it that I just had to make up that word? Is there a word for that already?
So. Boom. Here is my Thanksgiving-esque blog. Why not. What am I most thankful for?
I wanted to pick one — ONE — all encompassing thing, and I think I found the thing that makes me the happiest to be alive. Because it really is the umbrella under which everything huddles.
And it’s this: the capacity to love.
There you have it.
I love smells and colors and food and music. My sister laughs when I tell her that one of the things I love most about my favorite city (Los Angeles) is the trash. Even the trash in LA is beautiful. I don’t know if it’s the way the sunlight hits it, or if it’s the reflection cast on it from surrounding pink stucco, or the sound it makes when folks root through it looking for recyclables in the wee hours of the morning. I just love it.
I love people, I love stuff people do, I love stuff people make, I love ideas people have.
I love people. Sue me.
It’s just that, humans can be pretty rad when they use their powers for good. True, sometimes those powers are used for evil, but it seems like the former is somewhat more prevalent than the latter. Happily, sometimes humans even use their powers for the stupendous. Most engrossing to me is the passion and love for extremity that seems to run rampant when folks are in the zone of wholly enjoying the art of being human animals.
This guy dancing.
This love story.
This song that made me fall in love with someone for the first time.
Friends, separated by thousands of miles, that love enough to meet once a year to sing in the mountains of Montana.
This example of the power of human creation.
And this (explicit) one.
The fact that dogs love people. That’s a big one. (Why the heck do dogs love people so much?!)
This love for everything and everyone is relatively new to me. Until about seven years ago I was really angry with people, circumstances, myself. And had been for a couple of decades.
Five things opened my eyes to the special nature of human beings and why even the shittiest people you meet are the most amazing creatures.
- I had a child.
- I lost someone I loved dearly.
- I began writing seriously, which requires paying attention to *why* people *do what they do.*
- I gave up worrying about what other people thought about me.
And those are in order. And they had to be.
Here’s the funny thing about people:
Dogs don’t run away when I freak out with joy over them, petting them, loving them and praising them. But people often do (although, with people, I generally hold back on the petting). My enthusiasm and excitement for and my interest in the magic and talent and ins and outs of people I meet, their expression, their history, their personas, their beings, my wanting to tell everyone about them, often scares them away. What have these people been taught? What are they afraid of, being praised, appreciated? What have they experienced to make them run in the other direction? I hope I find out what it is so I can teach my son the opposite.
So people may have a thing to learn about allowing themselves to be admired and loved. And that was actually my number five, if you noticed it was missing.
5. I learned to accept love from others.
Not easy, but huge.
Don’t let this last daunting challenge cause you to miss out. There is no rhyme or reason why people love and admire one another. That’s the beauty. People do things that display the depths of the human soul and heart and brain and all expression in all sorts of appreciable form.
…to his favorite classical piece, Camille Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the Animals.
Fascination (the fancy word for geeking out) might even be considered a form of expression. It might just be my forte.
Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. — Rumi