Now that a growing chorus of birds are belting out interpretive covers of “Let the sunshine in” and spring is officially making its budding presence known, I figured it’s about time I should do the same. I’ve been laying low here in blogland since my dad passed away on Valentine’s Day. It was an emotional winter for my family. Letting go, saying goodbye. But there were so many beautiful lessons for us all in watching my father surrender like a zen master to the cancer that had quietly crept into his bones. Despite the fact that my dad had a massive stroke six years earlier that crippled much of his right side and his speech, not to mention that we lost my big brother, Nick, around the same time, my dad had found something magical in the simplicity of the present moment: joy. He found happiness in the smallest things. A sip of coffee, a warm sunbeam, a hug from his grandkids, the beaming love of my mom. Since his stroke, he wore his heart on his sleeve – sadness, laughter, empathy, joy, and most of all love, it all shined through in its purest, brightest form.
My dad taught me so much over the years. Some basics like the importance of a sense of humour, of a good meal with loved ones (as a restaurant owner and Greek man, this was big), of family. There were other lessons too, like how not to take shit from anyone and how to push back and demand more from companies that want your business (he was a pro at that one and it’s a lesson I use all the time in Ecoholic). But what I carry from him most now comes down to two simple things: love and gratitude. Our time on this earth is so crazy precious and, damn, are we ever lucky to live on such a beautiful planet surrounded by love. The air we breathe, the water we drink, the life-giving foods we eat, the beautifully interconnected nature of all our lives here, the love all around us, it’s so easy to take it for granted. When we really pause to take it all in it really is pretty magical. So this earth month, as the soil and trees and flowers spring back to life, take an extra deep breath in and savour it all.
If you’re looking for an extra push to keep you on focus, check out this Earth Day Gratitude Project. They’re doing 5 days of gratitude all centred around the planet. Or just go DIY and do your own gratitude project. Really the best way is just to get outside and soak in some nature. Go for a walk. Stop to look -I mean really look – at a random flower or leaf or bug. Play with some dirt. Hug a tree! Either way, just enjoy….and Happy Earth Day!