After my last teaching session on Wednesday, I went out to pick up my weekly bread order, from the bakery I used to buy from at the Mission market. The afternoon was still warm, and I felt a sense of deep ease. I have a class on Saturday morning, but the long weekend had started, with a lot of free time and very few obligations. The work emails and messages dwindled away.
A friend of mine in England, whose mother died recently, has been cleaning out the home she grew up in, and determining what to do with everything – her possessions and her mother’s. I have of course been dealing with a version of that at one remove – and when I next travel to England I will have to devote a fair amount of time to sifting, organising, and perhaps shipping. My friend happened to mention a couple of plates she was going to move on, and I half-jokingly said that I would have loved to have them.
The other evening I found on my doorstep a package from England, with familiar handwriting, which indeed contained the little plates mentioned, so they now have pride of place in my kitchen built-in. I also received, that same day, a stimulus cheque from the State of California – something I remember reading about in the summer, but had completely forgotten was going to be distributed.
So I feel wealthy. Having already received one holiday bonus, I had treated myself to a couple of things; the rest has gone in the bank, though I expect to put most of it to good use soon. By the standards of the last couple of decades, and especially the first few years out of Zen Center, I feel like I have no money worries. And that is something I can feel thankful for.
While I rarely have any problems getting to sleep in the evening (and at monks’ hours, as well), I do sometimes wake up in the small hours, and usually have to read myself back to sleep. This past week or more, my sleep has been longer and largely uninterrupted, so I feel rested and healthy.
I am more grateful that conditions in the Bay Area allow for some socialising, as I wrote about the other day, and that I can see friends again. I have also been invited for dinner this evening, and I know I will have a good time with the assembled company.
I am always grateful for sunny days, and I shall also be grateful when the rains return, as I hope they do soon.
So even though this year has been difficult in some important ways, there seems to be much room for gratitude along with the sadnesses. I hope you can easily think of things you can be grateful for.