Gratefulness

by  Christian A. Brown  |  August 10, 2014  |     No Comments

Hmm…Another Sunday, another blog post. The pattern of Sunday blogging seems to have cemented itself, which is nice as I like structure. A lot happens in 7 days, which also gives me quite a bit to chat about without recycling topics. A number of exciting things occurred this week. Thanks to the tsunami of support from voters, I won another Indies Unlimited contest. I quite liked the subject matter and how the story turned out. I am glad that the readers felt the same! What else? For those of you looking for an update on the second manuscript: it is finished, I am on my second draft, next week it goes to my editor. I anticipate releasing Feast of (it’s a surprise) early next year. A December release would be great, but I just don’t see that happening. I think that February is realistic.

Now, that’s all the business stuff I wanted to address. I could go on forever on that front–I am told, correctly, that I obsess over work related issues. However, and I only because I am using it as a segue, I will say that all the good this week was karmically balanced by some bad: production issues, marketing foibles, reviews not posting correctly. Certainly, bumps in the road are expected, and as anyone with a dash of wisdom will tell you: “Its not how bad your problems are, its how you deal with them.” I’m paraphrasing, and still quite stoned on cold medication. (Oh, yeah, I got a surprise cold that kicked the shit out of me–but I kicked it back and recovered most of my health after a lethal amount of vitamin C and a 10h sleep.) But you get the point. Our outlook affects 99% of our mood and success in life. Particularly as North Americans, where most of us are blessed with the freedom to contemplate the highs and lows of happiness without worrying about the basics of food, water, and survival. Yes, poverty and strife exist in our own backyard. For the purposes of this dialog, I am not  diminishing the severity, and reality, of these issues, I am simply speaking to those of us for whom these problems are not day-to-day occurrences.

So to those quite privileged few, we who can contemplate our existence without worrying about the fundamentals of simply existing, I have to ask: how can you not be grateful? This week someone posted that “3 Things You’re Grateful For”, chain-letter spam on my Facebook Page. At first I was irritated for the defamation of my carefully cultivated FB page, then, when I got over being a grumpy old man, I gave it a shot. This is basic Dr. Philology, hardly a deep exploration of the human psyche, and yet, I still found a certain pleasure in voicing–to myself and to the world–the things in my life for which I am grateful. Three things isn’t much, really. Even going by the examples I prefaced this discussion with, food, water, no threat of immanent death, can fill any vacancies in such a list, each and every day. Moving beyond that, anyone who is not living in a criminal, abusive, or otherwise hostile environment should be able to rattle off a similar list without much effort. We’ve established that we have many things to be grateful for in our lives, and that’s great, as its nice to appreciate things.

Wait. Broadcasting the things that we appreciate (on FB), is a different animal than the act of appreciation. Saying you love someone is not the same as actually spending time loving them. Here, is where I had a disconnect between my “3 Things” exercise and real life. An issue that is systemic with internet culture, I believe, and this absurd race we have in life to go-go-go and distill everything into a system of “likes”, Instagrams and Tweets. As if those blips of communication and emoticons can sum up the depth of our feelings for others, or at times, even the essence. Granted, all of these social media outlets have definite and necessary functions (believe me, marketing a book, I know). Still, there is that line that blurs between social media, and being social, that doesn’t always get crossed when it should. That final push to take things from the medium (internet) to the flesh-and-blood meetings (even phonecalls), which I believe is crucial for certain interactions. I’m dangerously close to following one of my tangents, so let’s get back to gratefulness, and its relation to FB in this instance.

My point is, if you have something that you are grateful for, and you have access to it, then reach out, and cherish the object of your gratitude. Rather than being grateful, be present. Be involved. Love, hug, and kiss you cats, dogs loved-ones, husband, wife, whatever. Engagement over passive-interaction, should always be the preferred means of contact. We have hands to touch things. Bodies made to move. Mouths to speak. I wonder sometimes if that Wall-E image of the future isn’t far from the mark.

WALL-EUnfortunately, what a lot of these internet tools can become, is the medium for a relationship, rather than a tool through which those involved in said relationship communicate.  We have turned ourselves into a culture of “busy people”, and yet nearly everyone in my social network spends at least 2-4 hours each day watching TV, surfing the web, or otherwise committing time to passive, sometimes anti-social pursuits, which they are not supposed to have. Maybe its the cold-medicine talking, but all I know is that tonight, I’ll be watching a movie, cuddling up with someone I love and expressing my gratitude.  Hmm…that sounded perverted. Who knows? Maybe its that kind of night!

All my love,

-C

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P.S. Please excuse the general stream-of-consciousness flow of this post. I blame the pseudoephedrine. Goodness.

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