Saturday, October 6, 2018


Clover and Shaila—two of my blessings.

I saw something on Facebook along the lines of, "do you love your job, your home, your family, and your love life? Are you very happy with every aspect of your personal life? Do you wake up filled with joy and gratitude every morning?"

And I thought . . . "yeah! Basically, I am, and usually, I do."

Then I read the comments. It was a sponsored post, selling some kind of e-workshops with a self-help guru. People were pissed—in full denial not only of this guy's services but also of the general premise that it is possible to be pretty happy with every aspect of your personal life.

Don't get me wrong—I get angry, sad, distressed, worried, anxious, irritated, blue. I'm pissed about Kavanaugh, enraged about family separation at the border, distressed on behalf of the animals suffering in factory farms everywhere, and devastated by the ways in which institutionalized racism and speciesism are upheld. I'm also occasionally annoyed by my family, worried about money, or spread thin at work. I want things I don't have and can't afford.

That said, I am grateful. Deeply, awesomely grateful. I'm grateful to my racial justice learning group members who help me learn and grow as an anti-racist advocate. I'm grateful to the staff and board of the Whidbey Institute, whom I count not just as colleagues but as some of my dearest friends. I'm grateful for my children, who are growing up to be kind, wise, talented, and compassionate people who inspire me daily. I'm grateful to my boyfriend, for being kind, funny, thoughtful, and more emotionally intelligent than I thought a straight white man could be. I'm grateful to Sue who is keeping my mule Arrietty safe in Sequim, and Madisun, David, and the Shermans who are keeping my cow Dahlia safe in Coupeville. I'm grateful to the womxn and the LBGTQIA and BIPOC leaders who stand against white supremacy and patriarchy. I'm grateful to indigenous wisdom and cutting edge innovation that brings us closer to environmental sanity. I'm grateful to my wonderful neighbors for putting a smile on my face (and a birdhouse on my fence—thanks!) and to my local farmers for putting food on my table. I'm grateful to all the voters who are going to reset the Senate in the next election.

While there can be no "perfect happiness," here are some ingredients that bring me close:

1) aligning my actions with my values as often as possible
2) doing what I'm good at, for people who appreciate me
3) being honest with myself and others
4) serving others and staying involved in my community
5) living within my means and planning for my future
6) surrounding myself with animals and people whom I love
7) taking down time for myself, even when life is busy
8) staying just informed enough to be effective, without obsessing about what's out of my control
9) getting outside in nature often
10) counting my blessings—every single day

Hey, reader—you're among my blessings too. Consider yourself counted.


  1. Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.
    Marcel Proust

  2. Such a good read. Thank you for sharing, and for reminding me to look beyond the daily for the good in life. Sometimes it's right before us, and we are none the wiser.

  3. Thank you VY Canis Majoris and Durand!

  4. Thank you Marnie! Your gratitude is infectious. Great for me today.


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