Happy Birthday to Me//Gratitude is not Enough
Today I turn 34. My ex-lover instilled in me a renewed appreciation for birthdays that I am slowly integrating into my life. Her argument was simple: birthdays are one specific day to celebrate one specific person and give thanks for their existence. I love that sentiment, and I think it can be extended to everyone (within safe, comfortable reason) in your life everyday. Something to reach for anyways. The idea being that there is often much, or at least a little something, to be thankful for everyday no matter where on the spectrum of privilege you fall. For those of us on the hyper-privileged end of that spectrum, gratitude can be a simple and subtle way to really become aware of what you have, and that is important. Gratitude, however, is not nearly enough. In fact, I would argue that practicing genuine gratitude is mostly for our own benefit, though a Buddhist would argue (and I agree) that the benefits of a joyfully appreciative heart can radiate to those around you and spread infectiously.
A joyfully radiant and appreciative heart however is not enough to affect the type of wide-scale, rapid, and lasting change we need to dismantle systems of oppression and reverse the environmental and economic carnage being wrought on humans by the ruling-class capitalistic monster of white supremacy. It is however a great companion for that work, and I think it is the ideal foundation for moving boldly forward towards the radical change we need.