Mantra of Appreciation

By Marty Kendall, SJCC ENG Retiree

Recently, our own Marty Kendall shared her “Perspective” on KQED.  Here is a transcript of the recording.

To listen to the full audio:  https://www.kqed.org/perspectives/201601144432/martha-kendall-mantra-of-appreciation

For many years, I’ve recited a silent daily mantra of appreciation, thanking people I have loved but who have passed away, people to whom I owe a debt of gratitude.

I make a point of not doing this at the same time every day. I don’t want it to become a mindless, rote exercise. Instead, I recite my individual “thank you’s” whenever I remember to do it – maybe when I step outside and am greeted by chirping robins, or when I smell my world-famous banana bread baking, or glance at the photograph of my dignified grandfather with a twinkle in his eye.  No Amens are involved. This is not a prayer. It is my personal tribute to each of the people most dear to me who have passed away, and whose love sustains me. Their best selves live in my memory.

Now I’m in my 70s. As the years have passed, my list of people whom I’ve loved and lost has grown. After adding my brother’s name not long ago, I worried that I’d started spending too much time focusing on the past. We’re told, “Be in the present.” Hmmm. My “present” has been shaped in large part by the comforting embrace of people I’ve especially cherished.

I considered condensing my list of names, but instead, I have done the opposite. As before, I begin by remembering those who have passed, but I have added thanks to those closest to me who are still alive. I don’t expect to change this master list much in the future, except that some of the latter group will eventually be moved to the first.

When I’m frustrated in a traffic jam, or feeling bored, or anxious about world problems way bigger than I can fathom, my attitude changes instantly when I think to recite my personal mantra of appreciation, indulging in one of the most heartwarming minutes of my day. There’s no more uplifting use of my time than reflecting on the people who matter most to me, whether they’re long gone from this earth or we’re living under the same roof.

With a Perspective, I’m Martha Kendall.