(July 2005) Rob Breszny of Free Will Astrology fame imagines the world as a Beauty and Truth Laboratory where one can find beauty every day if we pay attention.
Here a Sacred Advertisement from Pronoia (the Antidote for Paranoia: How the Whole World Is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings):
It's time for the Gratitude Fest. Write thank-you notes to the creatures, both human and otherwise, that have played seminal roles in inspiring you to become yourself. Who have been your guides along the way, both the purposeful teachers and the inadvertent helpers? Who has seen you for who you really are? Who has nudged you in the direction of your fuller destiny and awakened you to your signature truths? Who has loved you very, very well?
So here’s my partial list, off the top of my head:
From age thirteen on, I ran away from home often. I’d strap my guitar to my back with a piece of rope, sling it over my shoulder, hop on my bike, and peddle to a nearby golf course or the back balcony of the public library or an abandoned but once grand hotel that sat on the river bank. Mostly I went to the golf course though, where I could settle into a covered lean-to and play the guitar in the middle of a wide open expanse with a ceiling of twinkling stars. Feral cats that lived near the Waffle House dumpsters would sometimes watch me, but I mostly felt the presence of owls out there and convinced myself that these sacred creatures were my protective grandmothers, watching out for me.
I live in a place where I can walk near water and commune with great blue herons nearly every day—an amazing gift.
Fireflies are sacred Southern magic and they take my breath away every time I encounter them. A firefly will always remind you to recognize awe and, if you’ve never seen one, then I urge you to visit the Deep South in the summer so you can sit outside at dusk near some piney woods and watch them twinkle.
My paternal grandmother, who loved me without reservation and rescued me from my parents’ house when things got ugly. Our favorite activity was driving in the country with no destination in mind. We’d find some random road and she’d say “hmm, I wonder where this road goes?” and then we’d be off on another great adventure. It’s a nice metaphor for living, really, if you’re not tied down by student loans.
My ex Mud, who loved me extravagantly for most of ten years and taught me how to feel.
Lynne. She had a beautiful, old soul and told me, before she died, that she would come back as a great blue heron if she could and visit me. I feel her presence every time I encounter one of these magnificent creatures and know that she’s here in spirit whether or not she’s here in fact.
Louisville, my mentor and dear friend, who taught me to believe in myself and claim my power in the world.
My father—a hard, stubborn, creative, and unconventional man. The greatest lesson he taught me was the art of enduring pain without losing my will to endure.
My fragile mother, who manages to love despite suffering from a devastating mental illness that convinces her that this world is a threatening place where everyone, including her children, is out to do her harm.
Mrs. Burckhalter, my ignorant small-town ultra-religious fourth-grade teacher who tied my left hand behind my back every day and made me write with my right hand (because Satan sat on the left-hand side of God, you see, which makes it plain that left-handedness is evil). I’m fairly ambidextrous now, but it was one hell of a way to enhance my drawing skills.
My small-town high-school guidance counselors, who advised me to avoid college-prep courses because my parents never finished college. They steered me instead toward math that would teach me how to calculate a bowling score and this offended me so much that I was decided to show them that they were wrong about me. The strength I gained fighting them taught me lessons that most academics never learn about the working-class kids who show up in their classrooms.