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New Year’s Gratitudes

January 12, 2015

I’ve written before about how I don’t do resolutions based on the arbitrary mathematics of the calendar year. My four standard resolutions continue. Sometimes I fail (okay, most of the time) and sometimes I succeed. The tactics change a little. I’ve been listening to audio books about psychology, will power, and habit formation lately. I’ve had a modicum of success as a result.

However, since the New Year has just come and gone and as I haven’t been blogging much lately, I thought I’d return to my lately forlorn habit with one of my favorite exercises: gratitude. Here’s what I’m grateful for during 2014.

'Gratitude and rust' by Shannon Kringen via

‘Gratitude and rust’ by Shannon Kringen via

I am grateful to my teachers, particularly my professors at Claremont School of Theology. This historically Christian seminary didn’t bat an eye at enrolling a Buddhist Chaplain in their Practical Theology program. My advisor, Dr. Duane Bidwell, has been a real resource. Not only do I feel welcomed in my classrooms, but valued as a source of new knowledge into a different religious tradition. Sometimes, this can be daunting. “So, Monica, what do all Buddhists everywhere think about this issue?” Okay, they don’t say that, but I occasionally feel that’s what I’m representing and I go out of my way to name the particular Buddhist viewpoint from which I’m speaking and discuss how other Buddhist traditions may handle things differently. Nor do they expect me to learn all things Christian by default just for being enrolled. They’re helping me learn about Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and certainly my beloved Buddhism and giving me the space and support to study what is truly important to me.

I am grateful to my coworkers at University of the West where in June I became the full-time Institutional Effectiveness and Planning Officer. I feel like my work is valued. I’m able to contribute to projects I enjoy and frequently given the opportunity to learn new things and try what I’ve never done before (also daunting). I enjoy the challenge and the community feeling I have working here. The university has come a long way since I showed up on it’s doorstep in 2010 and I am proud of what we accomplished, but by no means fooled about the work we have yet to do. They also let me teach, which I enjoy immensely.

I am grateful that I was able to spend time with my family this year, first when they came out to California in May and then when I went home to help my parents move into a new house in August. I have always been close to my family and living so far away has been challenging. I am grateful that we are all in good health, of sound mind (mostly) and body (also mostly), financially secure, and able to travel and see each other regularly.

I am grateful for my new family here in California, particularly my partner, Colin. He put up with a particularly hectic schedule on my part this fall and supported me through some stressful work, conferences, and final papers. I am particularly grateful that he is always willing to hang in there for the difficult conversations when I feel like a lot of other people would either check out or freak out. He and his family have done everything to welcome and integrate me into their extended California clan and include me in their many celebrations and travels. Together, Colin, Archer (dog), Isis (cat), and I make a fun little DINK nuclear family that enriches my life.

Thank you. Sadhu, sadhu, sadhu!

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