Life throws a lot of stuff at us, and it can be easy to fall into a perpetual cycle of feeling bad about our deficiencies. Gratitude, I think, is our greatest North Star. To be grateful is to truly live in the moment; to be present and happy, mindful and compassionate in real time. But the truth is, gratitude takes effort and training, and we all have much work left to do. So, I’m going to sit down one-on-one with everyone I know and have an engaging conversation about the role gratitude plays in their lives. My aim is to learn as much as I can about the act of being grateful, so that I can apply those lessons to my everyday present. I’m hoping that these conversations act as a meditation on gratitude and compassion, so that all of us - those involved in the conversation and those who listen to it - remain inspired to spread compassion to the rest of the world.
There wasn’t a question in my mind who I wanted to talk with for my first episode - it’s always been my mother, Linda. I’m fortunate to have had a pretty great relationship with my mom, and she’s always been one of my best teachers, especially when it comes to gratitude. My mother’s life hasn’t always been easy - not when she was navigating the professional world in the 80s and 90s, not when she was beating cancer, and not now, as my father and her husband slowly succumbs to a horrible and debilitating disease.
Through it all, my mom just wants to do everything for everyone else; the quintessential jewish mother, with the best parts of that always shining, and the not-so-best parts taking me way too long to recognize as acts of unabashed love and support. I will never have a louder or more supportive cheerleader than my mom, and it makes perfect sense that this ongoing discussion on gratitude should start with her. And I have to say that her voluntary involvement in this episode is not only immensely gratifying, but also really a testament to her support - as you’ll hear, the experience was very emotional for her, and for me as well. But in the end, I’m so grateful to have had this conversation, and to have recorded it. Not only does she teach me new things about gratitude, but I learned other lessons and pieces of my mom’s personal history that I never knew. I really hope you enjoy it, and find something helpful in there as well.
Here now is a discussion with my mother, Linda, on gratitude.