My world has become very small in the last week because I've been in a recording studio every day co-producing an anthem for the Big O project. I've heard clips of news from the outside world but have not been really engaged in what's happening.
I knew there'd been an earthquake in Haiti but it took reading my friend Leanne Coppen's Living with Breast Cancer blog to actually Google and follow the story.
So I just learned that 3 million out of Haiti's 10 million people are right now without access to basic amenities like food, water, shelter and electricity. Three million. That's about the size of Toronto proper. Can you imagine that entire city's core in such a state?
How can I, on the other side of the world, living my tiny little life, doing my great big art project, respond to this in any kind of meaningful way?
Ignoring it is one reaction. "Oh, I can't do anything about it so, oh well."
Guilt is another. "Well, I can feel bad for what I have, at least."
I can send money. "It's the least I can do."
Or I can practice gratitude and rejoice in my life today. I'm alive. I get to live another day. I can take that in, deeply, and not take it for granted like I do most days. I can turn today into the fullest possible celebration of living by being thankful.
If you read Leanne's post you'll see that she has found a way to be grateful in the face of devastating circumstances. She crashes her own pity party by looking at what she has, not what she has not. This is the most inspiring message of all, anytime, anywhere.
Leanne's post reminded me that I have to count my blessings. When my life becomes so insular that all I'm thinking about is my stuff, I can't see the forest for the trees. I've become self-centred. I am blind to all that I have been given and I often focus on what's wrong rather that what is right.
I need to be reminded pretty much constantly to remove myself from the centre of the Universe, to step back and look at the whole picture, and remember that I am a part of the whole but not the whole part.
It's pretty easy to practice gratitude when I've got my basic amenities covered and I don't have stage four breast cancer. What about when the quake/cancer hits, when the rubble/chemo buries everything? When we are stripped of all that we hold dear? For what then can we be thankful? Leanne reminds us that it's still possible to find something and rejoice in it.
Rough count of blessings? About 3 million.
Inspiring Message of the Day: My way of giving back is to be grateful. To enjoy this day and live it, fully, as thought it were my last.