by Jon Sullivan - 2024-05-23 - Jonism

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There was a FB post asking people to post three things they are grateful for. I find that limiting.

- I am so grateful for my new friends in Oregon. I barely recognize myself now. And so much of that is due to the times I've spent with tribe folks. Call it a cult, call it social engineering, call it a hippie echo chamber, call it mass hallucination. At 61 years old I can say I've learned more in the last two years than I thought possible. I feel surrounded by love and peace and joy and light. Because I am.

- I'm grateful the classic Stoicism finally clicked for me. It may be a huge teetering construct of logic and rationalization, but it forces virtue and happiness into your life. For me anyway. I think I always felt like the purpose of life was to live in grace with the universe. I just never knew how, or what it even meant.

- I'm grateful for photography. Which is an odd thing to say, but it fuels so much of my best. Best adventures, best creative muse, best life. Best fuel for my bottomless ego. I spent some time showing off my photos to people at Marilee's Fling in the Woods party. Going out into the world, capturing wonderful images, and then spreading that sense of magic and wonder with others. Few things are so fulfilling. Few things bring so many smiles. I am grateful I can make people smile like that.

- I'm grateful for the road. Endless and beckoning. New places. New food. New photos. New chances to be alone with the voices in my head, turning over "deep thoughts" and reaching new insights. Also grateful for my new car. It's perfect for road trips. A mobile basecamp, always ready to head out on short notice.

- I'm grateful for those who stand for something more. Those who lean into kindness and humanity. Those who fight for equality and justice. Those who refuse to be bogged down into surrender and resignation. Those who value virtue more than wealth, and know that all virtue should derive from compassion. I don't have it in me to fight that fight. But I'm so glad to see others wading in. I'm grateful for the heroes.

- I'm grateful for sobriety. Finally. I wish I was one of those who could just enjoy a craft beer now and then. But that was never going to be the case. I was always going to drink until I could no longer cling to consciousness. Until I blacked out. Blacked out the pain, blacked out the feelings, blacked out the world. Living constantly poisoned is/was a horrible addiction to be carrying everywhere. Horrible how it always defines you, no matter how much you pretend it doesn't. I feel stupid for ever accepting that a lack of clarity somehow brought happiness. It was never happiness. It was just lack of lucidity.

- I am grateful for whatever guardian angel or simulation code that let me get to this place. I always lived like living was a failure of adventure. As if dying was the reward for a life lived near the maximum. I always hated the idea of being old. But here I am, and rather than be disgusted by my fat, saggy, wrinkled, farty, bald body..... I only feel joy and wonder. I never wanted to be this old. But it was just me mistaking youthful arrogance for understanding. Staring at beauty at any age is still staring at beauty, after all.

- More than anything I am just grateful. For all of it. For the totality. All the pain, depression, love, anger, struggle, happiness, mistakes and fixes. When things were bad I deserved it, as I can only blame myself. I was no victim, ever, and I'm grateful for that. I know many are victims thru no fault of their own. When things were good it was through learning and growing, rather than luck or pedigree. I am grateful for all the scars it took to get to this place. I am my scars. I am my loneliness. I am my mistakes. And I'm better for them. They were the road to this destination.

Today's photo : I need more Oregon Milky Way photos. So many subjects here would be perfect for it. But down in San Diego I took them in the desert where clouds are rare. Here the weather makes it much harder. And driving 400 miles for one photo, just to have to not be there due to weather, is frustrating. The quest continues.

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