Practicing the Art of Abundance
Yesterday my partner Noriko and I were having lunch in the shade of the large, umbrella-like koa tree in our front yard. Chaco and Pono, our terriers, were knawing contentedly on their beef bones. A gentle breeze was blowing; egrets were foraging among the grasses and weeds. Workmen were whooping it up like cowboys next door.
After our silent prayer, I picked up my wooden chopsticks and began to dip enthusiastically into the frittata that Noriko had thrown together as our main dish--rather masterfully, I thought!--from ingredients chilling in the fridge.
It struck me, suddenly, that much of our meal had been "given" : The sweet Kula onions that she had sauteed had been gifted to me by a friend at Kihei Canoe Club. A farmer acquaintance of his had grown too many, and because of a dearth of rain during this recent growing season, they were rather small for commercial markets. So Dave brought me a five-pound (or so) bag of them that morning, with the verbal instruction: "Keep 'em in the fridge in a brown paper bag and they'll last for months."
Then I remembered that one of the eggs in our fritata had been "volunteered" by a local hen: Noriko had found it lying in the road while walking the dogs--and after confirming (by holding it up to the light and verifying its translucence) that it did not contain an unhatched chick, she had placed it in the fridge alongside the other eggs that we buy from our local free-range farmer.
The succulent yellow-green spears of avocado in our salad were sliced from a plump, dark green fruit that had shown up while I was strolling home from Haiku town. I had nearly stumbled over it as I ambled by the side of the road--so I leaned over to inspect it; and having proclaimed it "good," carried it home in my backpack.
It is not our custom to indulge in mid-day desserts, but today's meal had its surprise finale, a real winner: yogurt and sliced persimmon. This exotic fruit, too, had been a gift. The day before, we had stopped by our favorite coffee/tea shop in Paia and were chatting with a handsome, vibrant Maui resident on his way to the airport.
We saw that he was holding two persimmons. As we commented on this, he sensed our secret (maybe not so well-hidden!) salivation, perhaps; and knowing that those persimmon treats would be confiscated by the agriculture authorities before he boarded the plane, anyway, he gladly offered us--with a generous smile!--the two perfectly ripe fruits. My first impulse was to paint them: Their shapes were reminiscent of brush paintings by Japanese zen masters.
I've heard it said that here on Maui we have a lot of "social capital." This is indeed a place where people care about one another. It is easy to feel safe here....loved and nourished!
My heart-felt prayer is that everyone, everywhere, might feel (and be!) safe, have wonderful community, and have enough good food to eat and enjoy.
May we all be friends and active allies to one another, to all sentient beings, and to our beloved Planet Earth!
And may the art of abundance seduce us all! May we gratefully receive--and say "yes"--to all that is given. And share it outrageously!
Sounds delicious, don't you think?
Be thankful that you don't already have everything you desire.
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don't know something,
for it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times. During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations,
because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge,
because it will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes. They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you're tired and weary,
because it means you've made a difference.
It's easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who
are also thankful for the setbacks.
Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles,
and they can become your blessings.
Things for Which to be Thankful
Trains, cars, airplanes, horses and buggies that allow us to travel great distances to share Thanksgiving with our loved ones.
The spouse who complains when dinner is not on time, because s/he is home with me, not with someone else.
The teenager who is complaining about doing dishes, because that means she is at home & not on the streets.
The mess to clean after a party because it means I have been surrounded by friends.
The taxes I pay because it means that I'm employed.
The clothes that fit a little too snug because it means I have enough to eat.
My shadow who watches me work because it means I am out in the sunshine.
A lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home.
All the complaining I hear about our government because it means we have freedom of speech.
The space I find at the far end of the parking lot because it means I am capable of walking.
My huge heating bill because it means I am warm.
The lady behind me in church who sings off key because it means that I can hear.
The piles of laundry and ironing because it means I have clothes to wear.
Weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day because it means I have been productive.
The alarm that goes off in the early morning hours because it means that I'm alive.
Getting too much email bogs me down but at least I know I have friends who are thinking of me.
More Ways to be Thankful
(A Turkey's Lament)