All posts tagged: gratitude

on a potluck

I left my first job in Somaliland last week, to join a different organization just down the road. Serendipitously, my last day at the old gig coincided with the US Thanksgiving holiday, so all my gratitude was thrown into one bucket. To celebrate, our office hosted a lunch potluck. Some were concerned that things wouldn’t go off well, given this was an unknown holiday (by the majority) and a new dining concept (potluck). In the end, though, things went swimmingly, staff brought mountains of food, and we indulged to our hearts’ content: Somali classics, Ethiopian loaners, American standards, pizza and burgers (but of course@),  and more. Appropriately, this post is an ode to gratitude, for a number of things perhaps elementary but also fundamental. Work | For employment, period; for a relatively seamless and drama-free transition; for 9-to-5s and side projects alike; for the organic relationships that grow from contrived collaboration and the friendships that develop among colleagues. Love | For the give-and-take, for the patience, learning, and maturing that emerges inevitably (though not always painlessly) from being in loving …

on a message

An excerpt from a recent email between close friends: In all honesty I’m terrified, and my confidence is shaken to the core. Nevertheless, I can’t deny the everyday gifts: the kindnesses, the peach cobbler, the call to prayer and the hypnotic, beautiful dikhr that pours out from the mosques on special occasions; the birds in the morning; the cool floors of my house; the farmer who insisted on giving me two giant, leafy heads of lettuce for free. I try to compose my days of those gifts, building out the time like the homes here that are indefinitely under construction. And of mindfulness, and of quiet and gratitude as well. Not easy, but worth it still. Photos from Tunisia’s striking Sidi Bou Said

on abundance

There are times when absence marks you, when it feels like a great black hole you’ve tipped into. There are times when the lack of something in your life overwhelms. It can be anything–a lack of money or appreciation, or material goods or confidence, time or love or a loved one. You know it’s absurd to seize upon this absence, maybe even obsess over it, when the universe provides as much as it does. But there it is: you’ve got a gaping hole, and it consumes you. The other day I was talking with a friend about desire, and he posited that you can’t desire something you already have; having and desiring are mutually exclusive. So desire is not a great basis for relationships, since it vanishes once the relationship is attained. I’d include our relationships with ourselves in that calculation; desire keeps you yearning and striving, but never satisfied, and never present. Sure, desire can motivate achievements, but as someone perennially affected by Grass Is Always Greener Syndrome, I wanted to brainstorm some alternatives. What can replace it? What …