Eve of Christmas Eve, 2020
“Gratitude Leads to Love.”
I like to begin each weekday morning with a cup or two of Yogi herbal tea. While my favorite variety is ginger, there are many others available on the Yogi Storefront on Amazon from which to choose. I prefer to start my morning work routines without the artificial boost of caffeine, and since I often practice 20-hour periodic fasting (no solid food from 7pm in the evening until to 3pm in the afternoon of the following day), drinking nourishing tea supplemented by a mid-morning coffee is critical to maintaining my energy, drive, and focus.
I am accompanying my Yogi Daily Affirmation (“Gratitude leads to love”) this morning by listening to “Suwannee County” by Andrew Combs which is the perfect acoustic accompaniment to the lively, yet relaxing flavors of my ginger tea. Recently, I signed up for three month free trial on Amazon Music Unlimited, and the experience is gradually changing my somewhat outdated views of how best to listen to music. I actually have a large CD collection dating back to the 1990s, and I supplement it with free music using my public library’s Hoopla account, but the nice thing about Amazon Unlimited is how well the predictive algorithm shuffles in new songs based on my likes, lists, and past listening sessions.
It’s not foolproof, by any means, but the more effort you as a user invest in liking, disliking, and selecting songs, artists, or albums you like, the better the A.I. becomes at adding in newer selections from time to time. It’s moved on to John Prine’s “How Lucky,” an Amazon Original recording from 2018. I like Prine’s music, but so to a lot of us, so the fact it entered by playlist is no real surprise. Still, I am grateful it entered the live stream, so to speak, and my Yogi Daily Affirmation reminded me that “gratitude leads to love,” so there you go.
The next selection is totally out of left field: a selection from a 50th anniversary Michele Pittaluga classical guitar competition album. It’s quite impressive, actually. I’m not sure yet if I’ll enjoy the songs that are selected for me each time I press play, but I am open for discovering new things this morning. And what would life be with out the occasional pleasant or serendipitous discoveries from time to time? That’s what I enjoy about my Yogi tea daily affirmations, and it’s what, in the end, I also am enjoying about Amazon Music Unlimited.
This leads me back to my daily affirmation today, on the eve of Christmas Eve. It’s about how we reach a state of love in our lives, the pathways that each of us must follow in order to get there. My affirmation suggests that we start with a feeling of gratitude, which has two components to it: an appreciation for kindness and a readiness to show it in return. Gratitude, in other words, is reciprocal. You have to give it readily in order to receive it properly. And if you practice gratitude enough, eventually it LEADS to love, which is a far more difficult state of bliss and contentment to attain.
Personally, I like this idea. Finding love is hard, even if it were not Christmas season 2020, when personal encounters with strangers are uncommon. I met my wife on a Christmas day 22 years ago, on a cold a snowy winter’s morning in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. I was new to her part of the planet, and during our first few days together, she showed me around museums, cafes, churches, snow-covered parks, and even villages in Transylvania that I never could have discovered on my own. I was truly grateful for those uncommonly kind acts, and I expressed that gratitude to her many times during those early encounters. After all: “thank you” is easy to learn in nearly any language. It means a lot to say it out loud even if you get the accent wrong. And that gratitude led to two of us down a path to love that continues to this day.
Now, I am listening to a song, “Everybody Loves the Sunshine” from the album, Rising Son, by jazz trumpet player, Takuya Kuroda. It’s not a Christmas song, by any means, but it captures a sense of togetherness, happiness, and casual sociability that I am missing this holiday season, given the travel and quarantine restrictions in California and elsewhere that prevail. I will be very, very grateful when those restrictions are removed and I can travel again more freely. For now, I am grateful to have engaging music, nourishing herbal tea, a decorated Christmas tree, and someone to love sitting on the couch next to me knitting while I type these words. It doesn’t meet the definition success that I was given as a college student at Williams almost 25 years ago, but it works for me, for the time being. Having the courage to be content is an under appreciated talent.
If you’d like to read more about my winter seasonal tea and coffee rituals, please see my earlier post from last week, which you can read here.
We’ll end today’s Yogi Daily Affirmation with a nod to the great African-American jazz trumpet player, Terence Blanchard. Let it flow, all you cool cats out there. LET IT FLOW. Happy holidays. Merry Christmas. Have a blast in 2021. See you soon on WordPress. I hope!