As a Mormon bisexual man I live in the "other circumstances" mentioned in The Family: A Proclamation to the World where "Death, disability or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation."
Me: Good morning, Mibes. You look deep in thought.
Mibes: I was just thinking about you. It's a deep subject.
Me: I've got less depth than you think.
Mibes: I doubt it. For example what have you been thinking about since we talked?
Me: Just how I can look better in the New Year.
Mibes: The truth.
Me: Really, my appearance. It's true enough. I've been thinking improved fitness. A little. A few thoughts about it.
Me: To be honest I keeping returning to the old subject of gratitude. That's mostly what I've been thinking about.
Mibes: How so?
Me: That it's a theme or a strand that runs through my life with both positives and negatives.
Mibes: What do you mean?
Me: That when I've had the mindfulness to be grateful, I've been happier and more productive, and also that when I've let my let my gratitude get blurry, that's when I've felt less hopeful, even at one point hopeless. Feeling that my life was without hope, without purpose. That it was all a mistake. But it's hard to think that way when I consider all there's been to be grateful for.
Mibes: But isn't that all about looking back? You're not looking ahead.
Me: Yes and no. When my gratitude is in focus, I think it's like a panorama stretching across time. I can see how the past has contributed to where I am now and how I might build on that for the future.
Mibes: Like a timeline that stretches from your birth to the present. And beyond that.
Me: Well I hadn't thought of it as a timeline, but that works. Yes. You're right. It starts before my birth. If I'm seeking to be glad about my life, it only seems fair to be glad about what led up to it.
Mibes: You're parents being in love?
Me: Yes, but way beyond that. I like music, not just because my parents liked it, but because it's part of the human and bird world.
Mibes: Birds? You're all over the place this morning.
Me: I don't know. I'm just guessing that some of the first human singing may have been in imitation of bird calls or other animals. Maybe to lure pray with a false mating call. And that music developed from those primitive sounds.
Mibes: Ah music and mating.
Me: And things that go with it. Pair bonding. Oxytocin.
Mibes: So you're saying you're grateful for your mammalian hormones?
Me: Those and millions of other things. The cells of my body. Water. Air. Food. Basic stuff.
Mibes: Just those surface things.
Me: Ok, you got me. Yeah, I've been thinking about big picture stuff like that. And seeking to be aware of that big picture, and grateful for my snowflake in that snowstorm.
Mibes: Your snowflake?
Mibes: How you're one-of-a-kind like a snowflake?
Me: Yes but all the other snowflakes, too. Being a part of this human family. This human mammalian family. Here on this planet together. And all the millions of lives and millions of years that are part of that history.
Mibes: I'm glad you can find gratitude in that.
Me: And gratitude for you, for our friendship. For the bond we share.
Mibes: I'm grateful for that, too. (Giving me a hug.) And you look better when you're smiling like that.
Me: Yup, I'm all about appearances. That's about it. That and that I love you, Mibes. More than you know.
Mibes: I love you, too. Even more. Even more than you know. Keep looking for those panoramas.
Mibes: Good to see you again. How are you? Me: Feeling better thanks, but still coughing. You'd better not hug me. Mibes: (hugging me) I'm pretty resilient. Me: Good to see you, too. How's it going? Mibes: I've missed you, but I think we've both needed some down time. It's given me a chance to enjoy some quiet moments. Me: Down time. That fits right in with a quotation I've saved. (tapping on his phone) "Wisdom is knowing when to have rest, when to have activity, and how much to have of each. Finding them in each other--activity in rest and rest in activity--is the ultimate freedom." Mibes: Nice one. Who said it? Me: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in his book Celebrating Silence. Mibes: Sounds a bit like the serenity prayer about accepting things you can't change and changing things you can. That mix of the two. Me: Found it. "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference." Reinhold Niebuhr. Mibes: Speaking of celebrating, what are your Christmas plans? Me: Some music, some reading. I may listen to midnight mass on the radio. You? Mibes: I'm invited to a Christmas open house. Lots of food. Some friends and of course some people I don't know. Maybe some singing, depending on when I get there, but like you, I'll also enjoy some music when I'm alone. Me: Will you think about stars and angels singing and a couple who couldn't find a place to stay and a baby born in a stable? And what all that's about? Mibes: When I hold babies at Christmastime I do sometimes think of those things. Me: I hope you will tonight. Hold a baby at the party. Think of angels and stars and miracles. Mibes: I'll do it if I can. But it's not hard for me to think of miracles. Me: Why's that? Mibes: Certain people in my life. You, for example. Me: I'm a miracle? Mibes: You are to me. Me: I don't feel too miraculous. Mibes: Well you've been sick. I get it. But your life, here and now, in this moment. It's a miracle whether you're healthy or sick. Because you're here. There's only one of you. Seven billion people on the planet and only one of you. Me: 7.2 billion. And there's only one of you. Mibes: Two miracles and a third, too, and that's our friendship. Me: Aw, Mibes. You're awfully easy to love. Mibes: Merry Christmas, my friend. I love you, too. Me: Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas, Mibes. Merry Christmas to you.
Me: Mibes, you’re back. I’m glad to see you. Mibes: I’m glad to be back and to see you. How are you? Me: In need of a hug. Mibes: (hugs me tightly) Done! Me: And you, how are you, how was your meeting? Mibes: Just a meeting. I’d rather have been with you. Me: Well the break did give me a chance to think about the paradox of less being more. I’ve waited years for a friendship like ours. Was the scarcity of a reciprocal friendship part of what makes this so welcome? Mibes: Maybe, but I think everyone needs a real friend. Not just the fair-weather kind. Not just the Facebook variety. Me: I’m guessing not to many Facebook friends will be willing to meet you for breakfast. Mibes: Depends on their love of morning, and breakfast and the person. Me: And a not liking anyone of the three could be enough to kill the idea. Mibes: Fortunately in your case, I happen to love mornings and breakfasts. Me: Thanks, so much! Mibes: Speaking of mornings, how are you doing on the early-to-bed, early-to-rise regimen? Me: It’s coming along slowly. I feel like I’m inching closer to before 11:00 at night and before 6:00 in the morning. Mibes: You could track the actual times. Me: I could. And I will. And I can also look for supportive ideas. Mibes: You could. (taps a search into his phone) Me: Of course I can expect you to help me get started. Mibes: “Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise.” Attributed to Ted Turner. Me: I like it. Mibes: Well go find some more ideas and track your times and let me know. Me: (hugging Mibes) I’ll do that. Love you, Mibes! Mibes: Love you more.
(He stands up from the table and we embrace.) Good morning! So good to see you
again. How are you?
Still not the usual energy. But I went to bed early and am feeling better than I did last night. And, you?
No complaints. I’m glad to be alive. Glad to be here with you.
How’s your creative life, Mibes? Are you still writing and producing?
Thanks for asking. Seems like I finish one project and two others are waiting for
me. A game of Whack a Mole.
I know that feeling. What’s your secret to getting it done, day in
and day out?
Great question. I don’t know that I have any secrets. Some of it is habit and
the need for income. But I also recognize I have a need to feel like I’m making
a difference. I think my work helps others. But I don’t know. Goals and
gratitude also help. What about you?
I agree with what you’ve said above but I’d add to it asking questions and
being comfortable with a question hanging there.
Sounds a bit like prayer. You ask for an answer or for help and then you wait.
Sometimes you have an immediate insight, but sometimes there’s just silence.
Yes. And it’s being Ok with the silence. I just finished an evaluation of a
project and I realized that I’d built right into the structure of it that I’d
wait for a theme to emerge from the initial research. I didn’t try to push for
something I didn’t have, but I felt some confidence that something would
And it did?
Sooner and more organically that I had imagined.
So finding the approach you want to use is a matter of asking questions and
waiting until the answer emerges. And being patient with that process even when
you’re on deadline?
That’s a fair summary. Reminds me of the idea that if you’re playing a piano
with broken keys, you’ve just got to go with the notes that you can play.
You’re into playing broken pianos these days?
Oh yeah. Got a whole warehouse full of them.
We’ll have to talk more about projects and productivity.
I’d enjoy that. (gives Mibes a hug)
And I’ve enjoyed our breakfast. Hope your day goes well.
You, too. I love you Mibes.
I love you more.
Not as much as I love you.
Sounds like a topic we need to keep discussing.
Good morning. Thanks for your hug this morning and for all your hugs for that matter.
Thanks for hugging me back. As you well know some hugs are pretty one sided.
But not yours.
Aw thanks. When you get a great hug it’s easy to give one.
So how are you on this fine Tuesday morning in December?
Better than I expected to be. Thanks, and you?
Healthy and strong and happy to be here, thanks, and curious.
About what you just said about being better than you expected to be.
I’m feeling a little more energy, a little more organized, a bit more
optimistic. Just little things.
Wow, whatever you’ve got it must be contagious, because I’m feeling some of
that optimism and energy right now.
Glad to hear it. I’ve always liked the idea that great good can come from small
Days and decades are built with moments and minutes.
You’re mocking me now, aren’t you?
Not at all. I love you. I love the way your mind works. And especially the part
about being a bit more organized.
Thanks, Mibes. I love you, too. But what do you mean “the part about being a
bit more organized,”
Just seems to me that if you’re wanting to build anything, big or small, you’re
doing it with smaller bits and pieces. So if you have those pieces better
organized, and your mind clearer about what you want, you’ll have an easier go
It's yet another thing we agree upon.
(Hugging Mibes) And we also agree on the value of hugs.