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(Post by Lynne Jacoby, Membership Development Coordinator.)


When I think of abundance I think of humbleness, generosity, joy, and Joe.

Joe was a housemate of mine who would often ask the question, “We’re lucky, aren’t we?” — out of the blue if the conversation had gone quiet around the dinner table, walking our way to the subway, or once in the middle of a painting project so I, cranky and tired, had to laugh.

“We’re lucky, aren’t we?” he’d ask, apropos of nothing, thinking out loud I guess, and I would have to stop and review the house we lived in, the meal we were sharing, the world around us, and think “yes.” And then, like Wordsworth and his daffodils, my heart would fill and dance a little, in Joe’s abundant sense of luckiness.

I always attributed Joe’s sense of luckiness to growing up with hereditary mental illness in his family. It brought a lot of heartache and stress to his life, absolutely, but Joe also had this deep awareness of his own lucky draw of genes—awareness he extended to other birth circumstances like parents and opportunities, race and gender. The way his mind happened to work, Joe knew, relied on some things beyond his control, and so did his capacity to succeed in our world.

Joe wasn’t perfect; like all of us he had edges. But I loved the humbleness of his perspective on luckiness and the generosity of spirit it inspired. There was nothing to hang judging others on, if one attributes a large part of how one functions to luckiness, and sharing what he had came easily to Joe.

His sense of abundant luck also brought Joe a lot of joy. He was the happiest individual I have ever known. It is a sense I want to believe I can practice myself. I am looking forward to November.

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