Engaging, at long last unfettered and unafraid, at the Thanksgiving family gathering, engaging in more and better conversation than I remember having with my relatives in that one day than in the majority of family gatherings combined over the last few years. Par for the course, I like to think; this has been, after all, a year like no other.

Starting another project: interesting as it is, idly wondering if I’m continuing to spreading my focus too thin.

Enjoying a long hike with good company, leisurely scrambling across boulders, up and down steep hills, surrounded by beautiful, natural danger, helping to keep us alert, present, alive.

Participating in a different way to celebrate, reminding myself not to fear that which I don’t understand and that which I haven’t experienced.

Absorbing foreign ideas from fascinating books written by fascinating people who have had fascinating experiences, all the better to expand my worldview.

Questioning, observing: the nature of friendship, motivation, purpose, discomfort, desire, the rightness of action.

Pondering the responsibility of those who lead and the responsibility of those who allow themselves to be led. “Who must do the hard things?”

Appreciating the simple significance of care, the capacities to care and be cared about. Appreciating all those things that make life difficult, for revealing to us our weaknesses and giving us reason to change for the better. How I appreciate the changes that suffering has prompted; how I anticipate growing as I learn to lean further into that which unsettles me.

Continuing the meditation habit, measuring breaths, scanning internally, practicing focus.

Thinking more about dealing with discomfort and mastering the universe.

Seeing a small pug-like dog tugging its owner up to the Starbucks window by me, rearing up to peek inside; taking pictures for strangers, reinforcing those invisible threads that link us all; giving and receiving earnest compliments; loving the small—or are they big?—moments of connection.

Smiling. Ah December, whatever shall you have in store? Let’s be amazing.


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