Dashing off a list of all that I am grateful for doesn't come easy for me. There are many things of course seemingly requiring little thought. However I don't do much with little thought. So for nearly every expression of gratitude for a person, place or thing in my life an "even though" or other contracting modification rears its ugly head.
I've heard it said that an attitude of gratitude is one of the sure ways to work through life's challenges. Since that attitude is not my prevalent way of being I think I'm somehow absolved from working toward it. I don't like baby steps. I'm resistant as is evident by my blathering lead-in to a simple list.
I suppose first off I'm grateful to be alive. That goes for any of us, but I've definitely pushed the limits of my mortality. Thinking back on my life, the expression "you don't get here from there" couldn't be more appropriate.
Next off I'm grateful for my wife and children. From each I receive love in ways that I feel ill equipped to accept let alone reciprocate. Being a father and a husband present very real challenges that ultimately can't be avoided, manipulated or responded to with anger. I thank them for their patience in letting me learn how to love and care for them as a husband and a parent. Here's a very real case of the gift being in the giving for as I go through my children's various stages of development with them I learn of my own developmental deficiencies and heal in the process.
I'm extremely grateful for my son's new school and his new teacher. Miss I is one of the most fully realized human beings I have ever met. Finding her in our lives is a graceful joy.
Next I want to thank my many friends far and wide that have helped me understand the world and myself to the extent that I do. So many people have encouraged and supported me. So many have listened to my whining, my genius and my bullshit. I especially want to thank those that have stuck to their principles and have thus helped me develop and respect my own.
I'm grateful to live in a city such as Portland. That I've been able to come back home to create a new life and new memories with my family.
I'm grateful for my daughter's wonderful school and teachers.
I'm grateful for all the wonderful people we've met through our children and for the little friends of our children.
I'm grateful for my love of writing and storytelling.
I'm grateful for my ability to make films and for my love of directing actors. I'm grateful to have had the experience of making so many films with so many wonderful people. I'm grateful for all those that continue to help me make more films in spite of not having seen the last thing they helped me with.
I'm grateful for the diverse natural beauty of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest.
I'm grateful for our home. For its beauty and its strength. For its memories. For its versatility. For its value and the security it provides. For its height and its windows all around allowing us a clear 360 view in spite of its being in a dense urban neighborhood. I'm grateful for the three mature cedars in our parking strip providing us privacy and protection from the East wind as well as a habitat for squirrels and birds, giving us a view onto our own private forest.
I'm grateful for all of our material wealth and comfort. For the many tools for making films. For our cars. And bicycles. Our books. For my watch that I bought the day before Thanksgiving in 1986. It's been with me a long time, through thick and thin. I'm glad I had the vanity and foresight to buy it. I reasoned at the time that I would easily go through $625 worth of Timex', Casios and Swatches before a Rolex would give out. I'm grateful I have been able to hold onto it.
I'm also thankful for the debt that has allowed us to enjoy some of the above in a more expedient manner than otherwise possible.
I'm grateful for the experience of travel and of living in so many interesting places in the world: Germany, San Francisco, Mexico, New York City ...
I'm grateful for my experience as an acting coach. For all the friends I met in doing that and for the joy and challenges of running a studio for five years.
I'm grateful for the internet and the ease of communication it provides.
I'm grateful for my first set of orange Funk & Wagnalls encyclopedias, my first information superhighway. As I'm thankful for my life-long love of books, reading and learning.
I'm grateful for all the music, film and art that touches me deeply and for all that simply entertains me.
I'm grateful that I can grow and change. For P and all the help and guidance he's provided.
I'm grateful to my family for giving me life and for teaching me how not to live. As I'm grateful that they keep their distance now.
I'm grateful for this blog and its readers. For the record it provides, but more importantly for the challenge of getting my thoughts and experiences out of my head on a regular basis. There is often magic in it. So thanks for reading.