I'm currently sitting in a friend's apartment in Vancouver, listening to a Bandcamp playlist and leaning out a 4th story window to smoke. I'm listening to the sounds of the trains outside the window, smelling the meat processing plant on the other side of the tracks and sipping on a perfect cup of coffee. I'm thinking about Montreal, all the cities I've been in over the last two weeks and what today's anniversary really means to me.
All I keep circling back to is that this day would mean alot less if I didn't have the strenght of my loved ones, friends and aquaintances in my corner. If I didn't have a history of knowing incredible, loving folks who have at times opened their homes, their cupboards and their hearts to me. Over 7 years of my sobriety I have lived in 3 cities. In each of them I have met and have been blessed with mindblowing communities who hold me up when I can't hold myself, who have encouraged me to continue my artistic endeavours and never give up. These are not little things, these are huge things that I sometimes take for granted.
But there are other things I take for granted nowadays. Like the ability to wake up in the morning without shaking. The physical ability to walk down the street, take the metro, travel freely and access these communities I speak of. I have the mental capacity to share, to speak, to make coffee and the cognitive ability to do all of these things with (relative) ease. Obviously, this is not the case for everyone. This is a part of my privilege, that I am an able bodied person who can move in this world. I have access to medical resources, a doctor, and the ability to take medication which significantly improves and strengthens my ability to function. Even simple things like the ability to turn on my computer, access online communities, write a blog, email, and listen to music are gifts that I don't always consider. If I actively think about it, my gratitude extends far beyond being sober and into the simple things. Like owning a toothbrush, access to a warm shower and clean socks. Eating an ice cream cone in a park on a warm day. Sitting for 12 hours on a Greyhound bus and performing poetry at night. While on the Greyhound I am cranky, I am thinking about why the driver is going to slowly, why the person next to me chose to eat 100 pounds of garlic before their trip and then sweat it out in a crowded bus. I am thinking about how late I am going to be, how badly I would like to shower, how tired I am.
My hope for my life is that I am able to become a source of support and love for those I meet. If I am able to repay even a tiny fraction of what I have been given over the years, it will be a miracle. I try to actively dedicate my days to opening my home, my life, and my heart to those around me. I am getting better at this with practice, I am becoming more able to show affection and gratitude to those around me. This is all a learning process, and I have a long way to go.
One thing I know for sure is that it is not enough to say I am grateful. It has to be evident in the way I live and interact with others. It has to be something that I am, that I exhale with each breath. I imagine a warm wind covering everyone I meet on the road and at home. I want to be a warm wind that hugs you. I want my hand to be out when someone needs it, wants it, or is unsure of what they need. I like the saying 'Faith without works is dead'. It is a call to action to hug your community, to be present mentally, emotionally and physically and to ask what needs to be done. To put your hand up and say "I will" in everyday life.
I will care.
I will be present.
I will be available.
I will be human.
I will be here.
I will be.
This is what has been given to me. It is the reason I am alive today. Let's eat some ice cream.