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My alarm clock went off at 3:20, which is common. I’m usually wide awake at 3 am, unless.

Unless, like this morning, my body-in-training really, really needs some extra sleep. So I got up, took care of a few essentials, took a Tylenol to deal with the soreness that a newly-initiated training program always entails, and cuddled back up with my aging teddy Gerry Bear.

As soon as I woke up about 90 minutes later, I thought:

Thank you. Thank you for this strong body. Thank you for this life. Thank you for allowing me yet another day. Please give me the courage to see with wisdom, live with exuberance, and find the gift in all things. Thank you for the chance to be alive today.

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Then I rolled out of bed again, and hit the computer. In response to an email, I fired off $1200NZ to Zavkhan Trekking for a trip to see the Eagle Festival in Mongolia where I am spending a month later this year.

Thank you for the opportunity to do these things. Thank you for the endless gifts that are these experiences. Thank you for the chance to see this world and all the cultures in it.

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Then I opened the little green Christmas present that is the feedback at the top of my Medium account and read this from setsail:

My wife, life partner is soon to be 65 and is more beautiful with each passing day. Her hair is natural and graying, she’s strong and constantly “putzing”, from stacking firewood, to gardening, to walking through the woods with her camera ready. We’ve had untold adventures over the years, exciting and at times energizing. She, a former Army nurse…me, a former liaison between the US military and the Vietnamese people.

Scuba diving, sailing, she working on medical missions in Central America…me working with UNICEF taking medicines into the mountains along the borderlands of Honduras and Nicaragua. At 70 we’re not slowing down, but we do take the time to smell the wildflowers, act as midwives to Monarchs, and speak fairly fluent barred owl. Live life to the fullest.

Thanks for this piece Julia

You cannot possibly ask for a greater grace than such things. You cannot possibly ask for anything more lovely in your morning inbox. Such things feed the soul and remind us of what is good in the world.

Thank you for the people in my life. Thank you for the gift of such comments. Thank you for gracing me with kindness. Thank you for beginning my day with such graciousness.

Don’t take it from me. Advice from The Chopra Center here.

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And even this, which I received yesterday in response to an unfinished piece which, as we sometimes can do, got published by mistake and before I had a chance to rewrite it:

Not really appreciating the pictures of obese people in your article — I get that you’re trying to make a point here, but they’re unnecessary and somewhat offensive to someone who’s been obese before. I get you’re on your high horse because you AREN’T one and have probably never been one, but get off it.

While yes, I blocked this person, the gift was that I needed to carefully review the article, its content, and how it might land. This particular person does not know my history of obesity or eating disorders. She’s a shoot-first-and-ask questions-later type. However, her email caused me to realize that the article I’d written had indeed been published without being carefully vetted. And it is now back in edit mode. That made this a gift.

Thank you for reminding me to be mindful. Thank you for feedback that I need to be kind. Thank you for giving me the chance to feel mercy for someone else’s pain. Thank you for the chance to be reminded that others need better from me if I am to do my work in the world.

You might try this.

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What’s the first thing you did this morning? How did you greet the day?

I have an aging, injured body. I’m 66, and there are parts of me that bark pretty loudly when I get up. I have to do PT every day or those parts don’t work very well any more. I have a ruptured bicep tendon that has permanently ruined the once-perfect symmetry of my biceps, my favorite body part. My teeth come out at night. I have no life mate. Right now my house is in total disarray as I pack and pull down everything that is familiar, beloved and precious to me as I communicate to the Universe that I am ready for a massive shift. To where? Who knows. I am sore today because yesterday I packed, hoisted and carried down to the basement endless boxes of heavy books (50–60 lbs each). The house is a visual, awful mess, which for me is distressing.

Thank you for giving me the body and strength to do this work. Thank you for giving me opions that so many don’t have that I might live this life. Thank you for giving me this extraordinary life. Please allow me the wisdom to be patient, to find the humor, and to fully enjoy the discomfort as well as the rising adventure in my life.

How did you greet your day? Are you willing to be happy with what is put on your plate? I can’t speak for you. I can’t speak for anyone. But I am deeply, richly, unbelievably thankful.

And that makes me happy.

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