Two things we cannot do

We we hear about gratitude, there are two practices that come up over and over again. The first is reminding ourselves of the the tremendous gifts that most of us take for granted in our lives: we have shelter, food to eat, family and friends. The other is cultivating the habit of noticing small bits of beauty and delight around ua. These are both beautiful, powerful practices.

Lately, though, I’ve been feeling tremendously grateful for the things that we cannot do, things that are beyond the power of any human being to accomplish. These are things that we have no matter what, and I’m grateful for a universe in which this is true.

No one can keep you from the beauty and the mystery of the world. It’s so easy for me to tune this out, but it turns out that the world is there anyway, always, whenever I return to it, and that I can connect with it without any tools or special training. They might expand or deepen my perceptions, but the world and I are the only required parts, and we’re both always here.

No one can make you broken or dirty or damaged. This is a hard one, because people do all kinds of bad things that cause us all kinds of hurt and sadness and anger — and of course, we also make mistakes that can be similarly devastating. This pain is real and valid and awful and at the same time, it is true that we are never less than whole and complete and beautiful. (This is about perspective: we can be essentially okay, even in moments when we feel horrible. I find this unbelievably reassuring.)

These are the things we all have all the time, even when we are tired or sick or angry, even when we don’t want them or think we deserve them. Beauty. Wholeness. Mystery. They’re yours. What else?

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