I’ve been getting the sweetest messages from people—texts and emails, people sending me links to share with everyone, people thanking me for the daily show—it’s been really lovely. Thank you.
Last night someone sent me a messaged me to tell me how touched she was to have me call her name out at the beginning of these facebook live sessions. Yesterday I had referenced Romper Room, a TV show that ran in syndication from 1953 to 1994--it like a schoolroom for preschoolers and the end of episode the teacher or hostess would *look through a "magic mirror"—which was actually an open frame with a handle, the size, and shape of a hand mirror—and recite the rhyme, "Romper, bomper, stomper boo. Tell me, tell me, tell me, do. Magic Mirror, tell me today, did all my friends have fun at play?" She would then name the children she saw out there in "television land," saying, for example, "I can see Kathleen and Owen and Jimmy and Kelly and Tommy and Bobby and Jennifer and Martin" and so forth. Children were encouraged to mail in their names, which would be read on the air.
The person writing me said in all the years she watched it, she never heard her name. And her name was JULIE for chrissakes. And, here’s the thing, I never heard my name either. My name is Chris.
I started thinking how important it is to be recognized—for people to see you. Recognized, from the Latin, recognare, cognare means to know, so it means to re-know something. But recognition is different from remembering, and different from recalling. In recognition, we are in the present—we see something we had forgotten about, or someone we know from somewhere else, but also we acknowledge something we may just be encountering or noticing for the first time. I recognize that that person down on the beach in Florida for spring break is not practicing social distancing. Or, Hm, I recognize that-wow- I am not a terribly hygienic person.
This strange time of being isolated in our homes, not going out to eat, not being with groups of people, sitting more with ourselves—it’s a time of recognition.
From recognition we move easily to appreciation—I have been appreciating the house we live in, how safe it feels, how quiet…we’re surrounded by woods and it’s easy to walk outside and be immediately in nature with a creek running by just outside the front door.
I recognize that I love the sound of rushing water as it is this morning after a night of rain.
It’s common knowledge these days that gratitude is a practice that not only enriches our lives but leads to greater mental health. It is actually good for us to practice gratitude. Yesterday a friend of mine said she wasn’t quite up to gratitude right now—and I recognized that as a perfectly reasonable response to the present moment. Instead, she said, someone has suggested she think about the things she appreciates and the second suggestion was to think about the things that you already have that you want—which seemed kind of confusing when she mentioned it.
Recognition can also mean awakening—not everybody feels this, but I feel this time is an awakening—I think a lot of you feel that, too. We are awakening to our behaviors and how they impact the planet and each other. We are awakening to the idea that we could do a lot less and still be happy. We are awakening, together, to the deep understanding that we need each other.
The idea of asking ourselves what are the things we already have that we want---I think I get it and it brings me to tears. I feel I’ve spent a lot of my life not honoring what is special about it, the incredible gifts I have been given, I’ve taken them for granted…and so here’s what I recognize today, what I want of what I already have: I want more of it, more days, more time with Bobby, more naps with our dog Sally, more conversations, more friends, more connections, more trips to Provincetown with naps on the beach, more songs, more art, more writing, more beautiful, delicious books to read, more exquisite performances, more walks, more diners having meals at more inappropriate times, more cute outfits, more laughter, more of all the things I have already.
I am finally recognizing that I am greedy for my own life.
*from asterisk to end of that paragraph, description of Romper Room lifted from Wikipedia