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Do They Know?

Hello and welcome to this glorious Friday, July 24, 2020! Today is a rare and precious day that will never come again. I’m truly grateful for this day, and as we talked about last week, I’m not sure if I’ll get another!

My intention for this day is Gratitude, or as I like to call it: Gratti-Atti-Attitude! During my morning reflection, I considered how many people (places and things) I get to thank for my precious life. I was overwhelmed! The influx of memories and images of those I must thank turned out to be infinite.

My gratitude list began by calling to mind family members and friends, teachers and preachers, store clerks and bank tellers, firefighters and doctors, police officers and even high school principles. This was just the beginning.

I reflected on my sweet little hometown of Gunnison, CO and all its surrounding areas that touched my heart, graced me with connection, and created a welcoming sense of home. Every time I think about these places and when I get the opportunity to visit, I feel a comforting embrace. Moving beyond Gunnison, I called to mind many journeys, both near and far, that influenced how I perceive the world. I then thought about those who I met in graduate school who humbled me with their experiences from places I never knew existed. This led me to consider all those who have contributed to my life that I will most likely never meet.

I visualized in my caffeinated mind the farmers and their lands, the ranchers and their herds, the birds in the sky and the fish in the streams, lakes, and seas. I thought about factory workers in Taiwan; berry pickers in Mexico; Ethiopian coffee growers; Brazilian banana harvesters and all those involved in making my many pairs of cat socks – that list alone is endless! Meow! But there are still more to thank.

Inspired by my anthropology graduate studies, I considered tribes deep in the Amazon jungle who have yet to meet an outsider. Yes, even they have contributed to my life. I am discovering that there is not an individual, plant, animal or mineral, past or present, on this glorious blue orbiting satellite that does not in some way support my one rare and precious life. Regardless of how infinitesimally small the impact, everything and everyone that exists today and throughout history has in some way, I am convinced, contributed to my life.

Here are a few examples that came to mind this cool overcast morning:

There are isolated jungle tribeswomen and men who exhale carbon dioxide that ancient Amazonian trees and plants take in and through the miraculous process of photosynthesis transform into 20% of the world’s oxygen. Oxygen that you and I breath! Throughout history, people and plants and animals and microorganisms have been nurturing and turning and fertilizing the soil from which our food grows. From generation to generation, people have been passing down wisdom on how to live meaningful and purposeful lives – sometimes utilized, sometimes not. Untold people fed countless others who have built incalculable factories and stores and roads and trucks and ships that manufacture, sell and transport our food and other necessities, and not so necessities. In some immeasurable way they have, and are, all adding to the richness of my existence.

How could I ever possibly thank them all?

Well, I can start by making sure that those I’m in direct relations with know that I recognize and deeply appreciate their contribution to my life. How often do I let these generous people know that I am grateful? Do they know? I haven’t always been very skillful at making sure those who have supported and nourished me, even if in only some small way, know that I am grateful for helping me to grow, learn and subsist. But it’s not too late – I have today – I have this moment. I may not have a tomorrow. So, today is the day to express my Gratti-Atti-Attitude to those I know!

But what of all these others? How can I express my Gratti-Atti-Attitude to all those, present and past, who I will never meet, yet in some small or significant way have added to who I am as a human? Well, I can start by being kind, especially to strangers and those I disagree with. I feel like this a respectfully symbolic way to honor all those who have contributed to my life. I realize that I don’t always live up to this standard of being kind to everyone I meet. Sometimes I fall short with those I love and care about the most! But I do aspire to do just that – be kind and respectful. For if everyone really is contributing to my life, why would I ever treat anyone poorly? And because I too contribute to the lives of others, why would I ever treat myself poorly? I’m working on this too.

Regardless, for today, can I make an effort towards letting people know that I am grateful for what they add to my life? Yes!

I am grateful for each and every one of you, I love you, and there is nothing that you can do about it!

With Heartfelt Gratti-Atti-Attitude,

Dan

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