96 Thanks – Part 2

Part two of the list of life’s lesson’s to which I am giving thanks this year. For those who missed part 1, click HERE.

As I explained, I give thanks every night for all the great people and things in my life. This isn’t about that. It’s about being thankful for the knowledge that I’m given every day in even the smallest things.

So, this year, I am thankful…

49. For the artists selling their paintings every morning on the sidewalks of Soho to show me that work can be all about doing something you love, and then you can figure out how to make that work financially.
50. For Jackson Browne’s ‘Pretender’ (especially the solo acoustic version of that guy) who works a job he doesn’t love to provide for his family to show me that there can be peace and happiness in doing anything, if it is a sacrifice for the people you love.

51. For the bar bouncer who kicks me out for no good reason to remind me that when someone even has an ounce of power, they can abuse it.
52. For George Washington who refused to be crowned king of the United States in favor of building a democracy for reminding me that by not abusing power, you can accomplish great things in this world.

53. For the summer to show me to come alive and shine and grow.
54. For the fall to show me that things can bloom later in their years.
55. For the winter to show me that all things must die at some point.
56. For the spring to show me that many things are not really dead, they just need warmth and nourishment to be brought back to life again.

57. For the energy of New York City which teaches me to never stop pushing.
58. For the calm of a cabin deep in the woods which teaches me that sometimes, it’s…really…nice…to…slow…down…or even just stop.

59. For all the men and women that serve our country, so my kids and freedoms are safe for teaching me that some people do more than just ‘stand’ for things greater than themselves.
60. For all the men and women who lost their life in service for teaching me how far some people will go to protect the lives and freedoms of others that they will never meet, or never be thanked by.

61. For a shoebox filled with trinkets, pictures, and notes from my past for showing me how much I can change.
62. For that same shoe box for reminding me how much I stay the same.

63. For my nose so I can smell when something’s not right.
64. For my ears so I can hear the calls for help.
65. For my hands so I can touch the heart and soul of a person in need.
66. For my eyes because I’m able to show them the light at the end of the tunnel.
67. For my mouth so I can taste the fruits of my labor after helping someone get through a really tough time.

68. For the G8 and G20 summits that encourage wealthy governments to give aid to the 3rd world countries, the unfortunate places in the world with only sparing amounts of natural resources for export.
69. For the paltry sums of aid that the powerful countries give to the 3rd world countries, which they previously colonized and depleted of natural resources and precious metals to remind me that people easily forget the wrongs they do, but will yell the good things as loudly as they can.

70. For dogs to remind me that loyalty goes to the person who feeds you.
71. For cats to remind me that there is no one is really loyal to anyone.
72. For pet birds who remind me that if you can’t be loyal to anyone, they will throw you in jail.

73. For the unexplained fire that watching sports gives me to teach me that there are passions in everyone that don’t need to be justified, just accepted and maybe even admired.

74. For a wildly skilled, but aging nightclub singer for teaching me that talent alone won’t make the world listen to you.
75. For the thousands of beautiful struggling actresses in Hollywood that teach me that neither will just good looks.

76. For the airbrushed pictures of near-perfect models that teach me that unfortunately perfection doesn’t exist naturally to some people.
77. For typos in love letters and food stains on hand written heartfelt notes which teach me that beauty sometimes lies in the imperfection.
78. From the natural glow of an excited pregnant mother-to-be that teaches me that it’s not about make-up, or your figure, or anything else physical…if you truly are happy and truly feel special, you will be seen as beautiful.

79. For aging grandparents who remind me that you may start dying from the second you were born, but you really start getting close in your 80’s.
80. For the even older grandparents to remind me that it’s not about counting your last days, but about making all your days, way before that, count.

81. For compliments that make me feel good for days for teaching me that my ego is as important as any other part of me.
82. For insults that hurt for days for teaching me that bruising an ego usually results in anger, not improvement.
83. For constructive criticism that helps me grow for teaching me that it’s as much about what is said, as it is how it is said, that can make all the difference.

84. For a rainstorm for teaching me that it’s OK to get wet when we get caught without an umbrella.
85. For the wind, for teaching me that if the right people are around me, all I need to do is shift my sails to change direction.
86. For tornadoes for reminding me that an unpredictable powerful force can lead to serious destruction.
87. For the ever-growing wrath of mother nature for reminding me that if I don’t take care of something, it’s going to come back and bite me in the ass.

88. For long, deep sleeps that wake me up with a pep in my step for teaching me there’s nothing better than a great sleep to arm yourself with, when you want to go out and kick the world’s ass.
89. For the slow eyes after an all-night party for teaching me that the world runs at way too fast of a pace and takes itself way too seriously most of the time.

90. For the parents who get positive test results that tell them their unborn child has down-syndrome, who go on to have the most loving child you’ll ever meet, to remind me to never let anyone tell me that I shouldn’t.
91. For the overweight, out of shape person that limps their way to the finish line of a marathon to remind me to never let anyone tell me that I won’t.
92. For the patients labeled ‘terminally ill’ by their doctors who refuse to let that stop them from beating a disease to remind me to never let anyone tell me that I can’t.

93. For suntans to remind me that sometimes things look good and healthy but they really aren’t.
94. For sunburns to remind me that too much of anything can be really harmful to you.

95. For the 5000+ fans of Urban Samurai who teach me that you can draw support, courage, energy, and love from people and places you never dreamed of before.

96. For sunsets to show me that there can be beauty and grace at the end of everything.

Happy Thanksgiving 2010.