I listen to NPR a lot. My friend, Nancy, first got me started on it when I’d hear their World Cafe show in her office in the afternoons. They’d play music from around the world, some funny (to us), some bad, some delightful. Then I got hooked on their All Things Considered show. It’s not like news, not depressingly geared toward highlighting the nastiness that people inflict on each other. It’s about interesting things that people do.

So anyway, I listen to it in my car, when I’m not carpooling, and I always hear something interesting. The other night I heard the Tavis Smiley show, and he was interviewing a guy called Deepak Chopra. I’d heard the name before, but really had no clue who he was. At first I was just enjoying his lilting accent (I just love to hear people from India speak) as they talked about the movie Love Guru that was inspired by him. They segued into promoting his new book, Why Is God Laughing?, but then he said some things that just really resonated.

He said that depressed people look at laughing people and say “well if I had a good life like those people, I’d be laughing too.” But he said that it’s really just the opposite. If they were laughing, they’d have a good life. The laughter and the positive attitude draws the good life towards us. He talked about how laughter distinguishes us from animals, how we’re the only creatures who can look at a situation and completely change it by looking for and laughing at the absurdity of it.

We’re the only creatures who can laugh! I think he talked about some other stuff while I was still absorbing the thought of changing a situation by laughing at the absurdity of it, and thinking of examples. Then I heard him talking about exercises in gratitude, how if we think of things that we are grateful for, it’s hard to remain depressed. So the idea is to keep a grateful state of mind, and look for absurdity to enjoy. Sounds good to me! I like to be grateful, and I love absurdity–I just didn’t know it was good for me.

Things for which I’m grateful today:

I’m grateful that I got to look on the beautiful sleeping faces of my daughters this morning. They’ve had a whirlwind of sleepovers this week. I realized when I passed their empty beds how much I missed that early morning glimpse of them in their warm, sweet repose, kissing their faces and feeling my heart swell as they burrow back into their blankets and their dreams.

I’m grateful that we have the means to give our girls a good life, that our worries are more on the order of “are we giving them too much?” than “how can we cover their basic needs?” My heart goes out to those who are losing their homes or never had homes to lose, and who struggle just to keep their children fed.

I’m grateful that my husband is also the father of both of my daughters, and that I never have to deal with custody issues or torn loyalties. I know a lot of people manage good lives with shared custody and a new spouse, but I also know that they go through some pretty hard times to get there. I’m so grateful for David and how he balances my quirks.

I’m grateful for harmonic in-laws. It’s pretty absurd to live across the court from your parents and expect your husband to get along with them. But we do, and he does! Oh sure, he’ll get annoyed over things from time to time, but it’s never anything major. Any time he is into something cool, the first one he runs to share it with is my dad. How rare is THAT? And my in-laws live in the gorgeous redwoods of northern California. I’m so grateful for the opportunities they’ve given us to absorb the beauty there and to experience greener lifestyles than we typically see in Ohio.

I’m grateful for flowers. It’s so miraculous to me that I can take these tiny seeds from a dead flower along the alley at work, let them sit in a baggie all winter, and then put them in the dirt and watch them grow from a hangnail-sized speck into something bigger than my kids in the space of a few months. Well, my zinnias are still not quite knee high at the moment, but they’re getting there, and they’ll be huge and bursting with peach-sized, jewel-toned flowers in another month. I LOVE that about flowers!

As to absurdity for today, well, I think we’ve covered that with worrying over whether we give our kids too much and living across the street from my parents!

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