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We learn early on to say “Thank You”. We are told to be grateful and believe we should be grateful. Even as a child we write thank you notes and give gifts out of gratitude. I am sure I must have felt gratitude in those early years. I was taught to be very polite and say please and thank you. And even if I wasn’t perfect at it, I knew the importance of sending a thank you note for a gift. My parents, my teachers, my older relatives and role models all did their job in teaching me how to behave thankfully. But somewhere along the way the word lost meaning. Or should I say the word lost feeling for me. I am not entirely sure if it ever had a feeling for me in the first place. 

I don’t feel ashamed of this. This was not intentional. It just was. I did not know the physical sensation of Gratitude nor did I know that there was one. But somewhere in my early 20s, as I began one of the most transformative times in my life, this lack of feeling gratitude became evident to me. At that time I was seeking. I was seeking truth on a Soul level. I had grown weary, I felt discontent, and was tired of heartbreak. While at the time I don’t think I would have been able to pinpoint my feelings I now can see how much fear I lived with. I was afraid I would never find true love. I was afraid I would not be successful in a career and financially capable of taking care of myself. I was afraid because while I had amazing people in my life I never felt like I truly fit in. I was afraid I was going to miss out on something.

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September 11, 2001

From that day forward Americans were very aware that terror could come to our own land. Despite the fact that this was not the first time this very center had been attacked by the same group, we didn't yet realize the magnitude in which evil could and would affect us. What 9-11 did was make us acutely aware of darkness and evil. It was no longer just something that we heard about on the news or sent our family and friends and neighbors off to fight in foreign countries. This event hit home for every American and hit more deeply for those who lost loved ones or lived near the attack sites.

We have a phrase "never forget" and when someone says it we know it is a reference to September 11, 2001. But while this truly was a horrible day and many people lost their lives, it is not the most tragic part of our history in terms of numbers and suffering. The truth is suffering happens all around us. Evil has its way all around us. But the audacity of this attack and the surprise element* were simply unprecedented. And yes, a lot of lives were ruined and lost as a result. This was our wake up call. We could not sleep anymore. Despite how our government responded and continues to respond and despite how our media reports, as individuals we were given an upside down gift that day.

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Wikihow "How to Get a Thigh Gap"

Just the other day I saw a reference to the “thigh gap” online. In case this is a new phrase to you the thigh gap is when there is a space between your thighs when your feet are side by side. It is not the norm for most people because it take a cooperation of bone structure and thinness to achieve. If you are missing at least one of these things then your chances of getting a thigh gap are slim to none. Despite this, the thigh gap is desirable to many people particularly young girls and women. For some reason I felt inspired to look into this thigh gap obsession. I found videos on YouTube to deepen my knowledge. Please note that once I typed “thig-” into the search the first thing to come up was “thigh gap” so it must be pretty popular. The results ranged from “Thigh Gaps Emerges as Teenage Girls New Image Obsession” to various videos describing how to achieve a gap in the thighs and of course spoofs on the "Benefits of the Thigh Gap" and "5 Way to Fake a Thigh Gap". I have absolutely nothing against the body type or women that have thigh gaps. But I am fascinated at how important this quality is to some people. College Humor does a great History Channel parody on it’s rise to fame where they ask, “So how did this arbitrary measure of bone structure become a standard of beauty?” and just like me they did not find an answer. So after my little google fest on this subject, I lost interest and went about my day.

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A friend posted a photo of a man walking on the lake bed of Folsom Lake. The dam was in the distance. The water did not even reach the dam. Wow. It was a stark image of this drought. This has been the driest winter I remember in my lifetime. While I do enjoy sunny days lately, they all have a shadow of the incredible need for water we have here in California. The farmers are hurting. The ski towns are hurting. Whether we feel the effects yet personally or not, this is sure to impact everyone at some point.

When things happen in this life (be it hardship or time for celebration) I do something that drives some people crazy: I wonder what the spiritual meaning is. What is there to learn? I step out of myself for a minute and just look at the situation placing relatively low emotional stake in it all.

When I saw this photo I began to contemplate the spiritual significance or lesson. And the first thing that came to my mind was how people can be in spiritual droughts. Perhaps circumstances in their life transpired year after year with little to no acknowledgement to a higher power. And this higher power does not have to be a religious thing for those of you who don’t identify with any deities or spiritual figures. The higher power can be as simple as connection (such as with the other people in our lives). Or it can be as necessary as gratitude (for what you have).

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