Recently moving out of state has made me more thankful than ever for friends. Both my “old” friends, and the “new” ones that I am making now. Both precious.

I doubt anyone would contest the importance of friendship. It is crucial for our wellbeing. It’s effects have been documented for health benefits — from depression and obesity, to happiness in general and being engaged with your work.

If you want to read some of the findings about the importance of friendship, look at the study of friendship that author Tom Rath conducted and talks about in his book, Vital Friends: The People You Can’t Afford To Live Without. Or visit the Mayo Clinic for their perspective.

But, in the meantime, be grateful for friends…

One thing that I have become more thankful for this year is the “journey” of life itself.  I have been a planner and a goal setter all my life.  So, it’s been very different for me to not be working these past few months.  My calendar hasn’t been filled with meetings and appointments.  I don’t have the same (often looming) goals, or the next achievement dangling in front of me.

Instead, I’ve come to enjoy everyday things.  To appreciate the moment more.  To be content.  This is still something I’m perfecting.  The shift doesn’t happen overnight.  But I would encourage everyone to give it a try.

I think Alan Watts put a nice perspective on it in his video, “The real purpose of your life!”  Check it out, compliments of Science Dump.

Screen Shot 2012-12-10 at 4.45.41 PM

After drafting this post yesterday, I learned of the death of a co-worker and friend…  this is in memory of Steve Greenwood, who made a real impact on my life.

With the exception of a few hours of storm-induced darkness, I have never been without electricity.  Almost everything that surrounds me is somehow reliant on it.  Such a necessity, but so little appreciation for it.

We visited an old mill today, powered by a water wheel on the river.  A truly amazing sight.  And it reminds me how grateful I am for our electricity!

War Eagle Mill Waterwheel

I love that my yoga practice is mine.  Not a session at the studio, or a class at the gym.  It is not measured by my physical strength or by my endurance.

Meditations from the Mat

I do not compare myself with other participants.  Yoga is whatever I make it today.  It is a discipline that is all mine.

For that very reason, my practice has had a lot of ups and downs.  Times of real dedication, and times of neglect.  But the opportunity to focus internally and to block out the surrounding noise of life is a real asset — one that I can develop and carry with me throughout my life.

(I highly recommend Meditations from the Mat, by Rolf Gates, if you have not read it yet)

 

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Don’t you just love smart people?   You know – the kind that make you stop and think.  Smart peopleThat make you want to dig deeper.  The ones that challenge you to do better.  To contribute more.  The ones that you thank for making our lives better.  The ones that you grieve their departure even though you never knew them.

I’m thankful for the contributions and the inspiration that so many smart people have provided in my lifetime.  And I’m thankful for the caliber of people that I was able to work directly with as well.  I’ve always relished the opportunity to engage with thought leaders.

Don’t get me wrong — I consider myself very intelligent.  I’ve been able to do a lot of innovating and creative problem solving in my career.   But there used to be a time when the idea that I would never be another Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerman was pretty depressing.  I removed “What a Wonderful World” from my playlist because I couldn’t deal with the lyrics “I see babies cry, I watch them grow.   They’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know.”  Today, I’m more accepting of that notion.

They recently discovered that Einstein’s brain is different from most.  His prefrontal cortices were “relatively expanded”.  His brain had extra folds, and “larger -than-usual bulges… on the surface of the cerebral cortex”.  At first this information was comforting to me — sort of an excuse for why I wasn’t among the truly brilliant.  I wasn’t born with an exceptional brain.  But was he born with an exceptional brain, or is it more likely that his brain developed that way because of the way his used it?

Food for thought.  But in the mean time, I am grateful for really smart people.

Perhaps I’ve got this backwards… yesterday I was grateful for a spa tub, and today I’m grateful for the fresh water to fill it.   The Illinois River Watershed Partnership has recently purchased a piece of land near our community that encompasses a cave and fresh springs that are part of the Illinois River Watershed.  The spring is amazing.  Fresh and cool.  Through their efforts, we will have a local sanctuary to enjoy and a place to educate our kids about the preciousness of fresh water.

I love that we’re back in a house that has a great tub.  Long soaks are a welcome solution for tired muscles, a chill in the air, or just a frazzled day.  Definitely something to be thankful for.