Cape Town, Day 10, South Africa. It is the morning of New Year’s eve, last day of 2017. Renee and I wake late and get into a different kind of breakfast in bed.
Me: So, hon, what is your wish for 2018?
Me: On second thought, let me take that back. Instead, what are you most thankful for in 2017…
And so we take turns: one blessing at a time; at times building on each other’s shared thank yous; at others, reveling in (and revealing) our own personal beatitudes. It was a tender and filling experience – so we extended it later involving the rest of the family over New Year’s Eve dinner.
Here’s my list, which I offer again in today’s Mass, on the most beautiful feast of the Magi and the Epiphany.
1. FOR every one of the thousands of steps we took with every one of our group of 21 in our Camino de Santiago.
2. FOR the 4 outdoor showers, 2 sunrises, 2 sunsets, 2 happy hours, 2 game drives and every moment of our African Safari, our journey into the cradle of life.
3. FOR our epic descent into the American South, retracing a roadtrip from my childhood 25 years back, seeing old friends Charleston and Savannah still decadently charming as I remember them, for snakes and bears in Asheville, for bourbon and rye, and the King Elvis and the Greatest Ali.
4. FOR 8 days half-naked painting love with BFFs in El Nido.
5. FOR this Ateneo Championship – for winning it the right way, with homegrown values and so many homegrown players guided by a coaching staff and culture that were a stark contrast to the mean green mayhem machine we took down. And it looks like we’ve only just begun.
6. And on that note – for the reawakening of the Ateneo 6th Man and the promise of Blue Eagle the King for seasons to come.
7. FOR Renee’s Clarity ?. (look it up among pics)
8. FOR the chance and call to build something again from scratch – from absolutely ground zero. In truth, I am always building; it is my DNA. But the exhileration and pain are magnified when it is a wholesale build – new company, new business, new model, new marketspace, new problem-solutions, new platform, new partners, new team, new vision – while still and all grounded in the same mission and purpose whose flame just keeps growing.
9. Which also means – FOR teams who’ve grown up and outgrown their need of me. For people we picked (and who picked us) and groomed and nurtured who have come into their own and can now fire me from my old roles that they can now do better and with more singular focus, allowing me therefore – all of us, actually – to move on, take new challenges, learn new things, build new products, grow new confidences, expand/magnify/deepen our impact…
10. FOR this Manifesto and what it has meant to me this year:
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
11. FOR encountering Genius in a new way, as Martha Graham embodies it here, and as Steve Jobs must have meant when he said “while others see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. (see #10):
“The greatest thing [Graham] ever said to me was in 1943 after the opening of Oklahoma!, when I suddenly had unexpected, flamboyant success for a work I thought was only fairly good, after years of neglect for work I thought was fine. I was bewildered and worried that my entire scale of values was untrustworthy. I talked to Martha. I remember the conversation well. It was in a Schrafft’s restaurant over a soda. I confessed that I had a burning desire to be excellent, but no faith that I could be. Martha said to me, very quietly: “There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open… No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”
12. FOR continued good health and learning to do more with less stress. For deeply breathing. For fitness, daily workouts and Intermittent Fasting. Yes, for IF!
13. FOR our dear ates and kuyas who make it possible for each of us to fly.
14. FOR everytime our boys are together, just being brothers.
15. FOR the ongoing madness, 20 some years now, of loving Renee. Yet I do. Everyday I do.
16. FOR Ignatius and your Jesuits and all you have meant to me all my life, but especially for the sword you gave me in 2017.
17. FOR daily morning Mass and Holy Communion and the same 3 prayers you have placed in my heart. For this sweetness, my true home and most cherished time and place on earth.
18. FOR your call to be husband, father, son, brother, boss, colleague, friend – for the circle of people you have brought into my life and called me to serve, and for all who have brought your Love to me.
19. FOR continuing to be led in all of the above, in all ways, but especially this year in recognizing my own darkness, my own tragic flaws that prevent me from being a more faithful servant and witness of Love.
20. FOR 2018 here and now…