A Starter Kit: What is right in the world


Learning is my thing…my default.

Motivations are as diverse as the leaves of autumn and as free-ranging as a hipster’s next coq au vin. Good News? Let’s uncover the details of who, what, why, and how. Disappointment? I am going to find a way to stand beneath it though it may take a while and lots of love (thanks folks) to rise to my feet.

Enter This American Life and Ted.com and specifically, Neil Pasricha’s curiously titled, “The Three A’s of Awesome.” I’ve listened to this conversation of hope and chutzpah several times in the past weeks. Pasricha created an online list of “1000 Awesome Things” following  his own storm-tossed season. Though I’ve done the same at other times, it seems like a grand time to revisit what offers joy. I haven’t seen his list, but I will once this posts.

What makes you happy? What inspires you to put one foot down and then the other? To pay the bills, put something away for the rains that will come, and dream a little bit? Think about it and if this list can help, feel free to take what you need and add some in the comments.

We’re all in this together.

  1. Kids coming home
  2. kindness
  3. colors (in nature and crafted by the ingenuity of people)
  4. early morning runs completed with Katie
  5. sweet dreams
  6. cooler nights after summer and warmer days as spring approaches
  7. the first, second, and third big snows of the season
  8. 10 minutes of quiet
  9. a full house (see above)
  10. kayaking
  11. do-overs
  12. learning something new
  13. crossing the finish line
  14. surprise ice cream breaks
  15. snow leopards
  16. sledding down tiger hill
  17. happy babies kicking
  18. StoryCorps
  19. fresh tomatoes
  20. Harvest end-of-season farmers market stew
  22. Voting
  23. little free libraries
  24. exploring in good company
  25. exploring in the quiet alone
  26. the Konza Prairie
  27. art and artists
  28. photographs and photographers
  29. historical photographs
  30. climbing in Berchesgarten
  31. Skiiing
  32. Hiking
  33. Art museums
  34. holding hands
  35. smooches
  36. learning from folks
  37. Civil discourse/civil society
  38. sitting about the fire
  39. wide open skies
  40. sunset over the TapHouse after yoga
  41. improving in my yoga practice
  42. recess!
  43. when the movie finally begins
  44. old classic movies
  45. movies under the stars
  46. inspiration towards action
  47. innovation and resourcefulness
  48. eclectic music and art
  49. laughter and joy
  50. learning to knit mittens for the mitten tree
  51. mobility
  52. best people around the table & making room for more
  53. good news from the media, doctor, late night call (those places you don’t expect it)
  54. Hard jobs done well
  55. Time with my dad and sisters-family
  56. Swimming: whittling away at a timed mile
  57. Belonging
  58. compassion
  59. communities that care and heal and laugh and pull together
  60. Strategy
  61. sweetness remembered
  62. hot chocolate to warm us up
  63. Healthy body of work
  64. sassy squirrels targeting pedestrians with acorns (even when it happens to me)
  65. reading a book with a kid
  66. persistence
  67. fingerpainting
  68. gooey chocolate chip cookies
  69. Adventure
  70. pups and cats (and allergy meds)
  71. homemade soup and bread
  72. kaiserschmarren after a grueling hike or run
  73. joy observed
  74. Saturday morning snugglebunnies
  75. good memories
  76. independent booksellers (and indie stores of most kinds)
  77. the unexpected sweetness of life
  78. good hard truth from a friend who cares
  79. turning a corner…finally
  80. salty breezes
  82. crunchy leaves
  83. singing
  84. dancing and not caring (especially with kids and at street dances)
  85. warm clothes
  86. cool sheets
  87. reading in bed on a weekend morning
  88. taking a Friday off and going to Orange Sky Yoga to get bendy
  89. stars
  90. Honesty & Integrity
  91. Love
  92. accountability
  93. neighbors helping neighbors
  94. Adventures.org
  95. book clubs
  96. skiing off of tall things
  97. strangers who become friends
  98. sweet surprises
  99. hot showers
  100. morning walks
  101. gardens…anything outside except snakes and biting things
  102. mud pies
  103. silliness
  104. Madeleine Albright
  105. Jimmy & Rosalyn Carter
  106. follow-through
  107. bubbles
  108. glow-in-the-dark and magenta toe nail polish
  109. Front Porches (well-used)
  110. humility and action
  111. Writing
  112. water colors
  113. marching bands (make me cry)
  114. extreme moosetracks ice cream
  115. fractals made on the windowsill in very cold dry weather
  116. fossils
  117. working together
  118. mobile libraries
  119. Forgiveness
  120. A bigger table filled with kids, friends old, and new
  121. fairy lights/party lights
  122. people doing their best
  123. train trips
  124. new cities
  125. Pho
  126. love in action
  127. intelligent conversations under a canopy of stars or in a shared hammock
  128. social bravery
  129. hard work paying off
  130. family walks and family traditions
  131. summer rains
  132. finally finding the answer
  133. Coffee (and peppermint chocolate creamer)
  134. puffy clouds
  135. Justice
  136. trying new things
  137. transparency
  138. diving into ocean waves
  139. sound of lapping water and wind in trees
  140. sweet tea
  141. Tony’s artistry in glass (Kicking Glass, LLC)
  142. Kansas and the Flint Hills
  143. a pedicure
  144. small town innovations
  145. conservation & environmental stewardship
  146. autonomy AND community
  147. listening to my friend, Steve, explain truth with humility and hope
  148. Ulm am der Donau 
  149. Shambhala Mountain Center
  150. friends in far-flung places and nearby
  151. Englisch Gartens, Munich
  152. Madi in her fiat
  153. walkable neighborhoods
  154. Arts & Humanities coalitions
  155. smiling at strangers
  156. finally feeling better
  157. home-made forts
  158. Pico Iyer
  159. friendship
  160. Breakfast at the Chef
  161. my vintage ’86 magenta wrist cuff
  162. excitement of my kids & framily
  163. walking (or biking) to work
  164. not worrying about anything
  165. peace inward and corporately
  166. today-imperfectly and unfinished

Feel free to add your own in the comments or just make your own list. It will help lift and is good ground on which to dream a bit.

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