walking out of the cages we build for ourselves

I didn't even know there WAS an old zoo in Griffith Park until this morning.

I’ve lived in LA for 15 years, and until this morning I didn’t know there was an old zoo in Griffith Park. It’s eerie and sad, decaying, rusty, graffiti’d. Yet cool, in the way that such places can be. (Wonderful review here.) It closed in 1965, and I found myself wondering if J had ever been there as a young child, and what his memories might be.

I considered calling on my drive home to ask him, then remembered it was a weekend, and he would be with his chicky-babe. And suddenly it flooded back, the pain of our breakups, the loneliness of being single again, the uncertainty of a bright future, the sadness of it all.

Suddenly I was caged. And I did it to myself. I walked right into the place of pain that resides somewhere in my head. Minutes before I’d been feeling great. Now I was miserable.

So I only stayed in the cage a few minutes. Because, you know, I really don’t want to be unhappy. Luckily the door was unlatched, and I could I walk right back out again.

How? Through gratitude. I thought about the awesomeness of the hike I’d just taken, and my friend Elke who’d shown me the way, and the gorgeous weather at the start of this three-day weekend, and suddenly I was slipping out through that barred gate.

Happiness starts with gratitude. It’s not happiness that makes us grateful; it’s gratitude that makes us happy. I really believe this, because I have seen it work over and over in my own head.

So I could say that today, I’m grateful for gratitude. Grateful that it works so well, to get me out of the cages I build for myself. Grateful for the teachers who have reminded me of this truth when I needed to hear it.

Ah yes, life is good.

Leave a comment


  1. Thank you for sharing. Next time I walk myself into a cage, I will try to remember to be grateful. And that happiness starts with gratitude. Oh my, I can recall countless of times that I felt caged, and told the people that I love and loved me that I felt caged, hurting them by those words no doubt. I’m no spring chicken, but need to learn to be more grateful.

    • Far, it’s amazing how much we can hurt ourselves with our thoughts. The awesome thing is that we can heal ourselves too.

  2. I really enjoy your honest and thoughtful reflections. Amazing that a defunct zoo brought you back to your cage! Life is so funny sometimes.


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