Sunday, September 11, 2011

6. Have Gratitude For How Blessed You Truly Are

“We want our lives to not just be creative but purposeful, growing us towards a deeper satisfaction around what we are actually doing here on the planet.”
-          Lena Stevens,

Today is a day of looking back for New Yorkers, honoring the past, taking stock of how far we’ve come, being reminded…  that the sweetness of this moment is really all we have. 

It is also a day of looking forward to working together to build a future that we can all be safe in and be proud of.

I am overwhelmed with gratefulness for all that New York City has provided for me in my life’s journey so far. Moving here in 2007, was the most challenging and best decision I’ve made in my life.

New York is my home!

However, New York is not an easy place to live. Especially in the early days, I have sometimes felt invisible here. But it forced me to see myself rather than rely on being seen by others, a very healthy and empowering feeling.

Still, I’ve never truly been invisible. In my time here, I have found New York City to be filled with some of the most friendly, caring, genuine and willing-to-look-out-for-each-other human beings on the planet.

My New York experience has made me supremely aware of exercising patience, kindness and good manners in all public places, as well as the importance of being assertive and steadfastly standing up for what you need, with both friends and strangers.

There is an energy, a pulse to NYC that you can feel almost viscerally, if you tune into it. Such is the nature of living in close quarters with so many people.

Being surrounded by fellow travelers on a crowded subway… navigating the sidewalks, while keeping your pace and dodging the tourists, New Yorkers share this collective experience every day.

Collective experience is a powerful thing. It can bring people together in a very emotional way and can help to create deep and lasting connections with humans that you otherwise wouldn’t have taken the time to know.

As artists, we seek to create collective experiences for our fellow human beings that will have an emotional impact of some kind. 

When you’ve met your goal, it’s a feeling like no other…  It’s like.. “ZING!  Did you feel that?... Yeah, me too!.. Wow, that was crazy… Yeah. Glad you were here with me.”

The collective experience stays with you. You remember it for weeks/years to come. You tell all of your friends about it... with passionate words and hand gestures! 

If it is strong enough, that collective experience can even shape who you are becoming. Feelings are potent.

So today, we’re all feeling it out together… remembering for ourselves and our loved ones… where we were when the towers fell and what that meant for ourselves, for our fellow citizens, for our country and for our planet.

Back then we were all questioning.... How were we going deal with this tragedy? What were we going to learn from this? How would we move forward? (Not to mention... Who's fault was this? And how could this have been prevented?)

Cut to now... How do you think we did? Have these past 10 years anything like you thought they might be? Nationally? Personally?

For me? These past 10 years have been NOTHING like what I had anticipated at all! 

On Sept 11, 2001, I sat transfixed to the television watching the live footage and feeling helpless, not knowing how to process these powerful emotions… My heart bursting with empathy for all those that were being directly affected by the losses of that day.

Life is fragile. 

It makes one reflect…What do you feel called to do with the valuable time that you’ve got on this planet? We have the privilege of making that choice afresh every morning… until one day… we won’t.

I had no future aspirations of moving to New York in 2001. But in retrospect, perhaps my attention was drawn to New York then? And the sense of national pride that followed, as we all watched New Yorkers take lemons and make lemonade, made me curious about that resilient and inextinguishable city.

New York may have been down, but it was not out…  NYC would rebuild, and rise again, stronger and more united. Ms. Liberty’s light shone brighter and more beautiful than ever... with hope.

I guess, I wanted that to be my story too.

I still do.

I love you, NYC. You’ve come so far! I am truly in awe of you.

Wishing you peace and love in the hearts of your people.

Thank you.


“Have gratitude for how blessed you truly are. Be a blessing for everything around you.”
-          Lena Stevens,

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