Gratitude Makes me Strong

Despite my love for spicy beverages, pumpkin patches, and leaf crunching, Gratitude Lists are easily my favorite thing about this season.  They are more sustaining – long after the apple cider stand is gone from the Farmer’s Market, I remain buoyed by the perspective shift that gratitude gives me.

So here’s mine for this Thanksgiving week – please add yours in the comments!  Reading other people’s gratitude lists is really encouraging to me.  It reminds me of the abundance of life, which, as I struggle to find footing in a time of rapid change, is a much needed perspective for me right now.

1. My family is healthy.  We had about a month of illness (including some scary tests that ended up fine), and I know more could be coming around the corner, but we are well right now.  And since I know people going through long viruses and even more alarming health scares, I am feeling really grateful for the health of our little home.

2. My family is safe.  The racial profiling incident in our neighborhood scared the bejaysus out of me recently, so I am feeling extra grateful for our current safety.  Also, my husband got doored (the cyclist’s term for when a person hits them with their car while getting out), and despite some bumps and bruises, he’s okay.  I’m especially grateful that my daughter was not on the back of the bike at that time!

3. We have paying jobs.  They may not pay much, but this month two of our appliances went out, and in previous years, we have just had to do without when our machines went kaput.  However, since I have this copywriting project right now, we were able to buy a new coffeemaker and kettle, which is making everything that much warmer and zippier around here.

4. We live in a lovely little apartment.  Since getting a prison penpal, and realizing she lives in an 8×5 concrete cell with chicken wire ceilings, I resolved never to complain about living in a one-bedroom apartment with three people again.  It’s all about perspective.  Also, I’m learning that I would not be able to handle a huge house right now.  This tiny spot is exactly what I can manage, and still have a creative life, for this moment in time.

I have to work really hard to stay in the present moment, as the drastic changes in my city have been sending me into full-on mourning of the community we’ve been a part of cultivating for a decade.  The only constant is change, and finding gratefulness for what I have right now is often the sanest option.

5. Though many of my artist friends have moved out of the city, I STILL have frequent access to life-giving art.

Me, Chrystal, and her son River at our friend Sydney's opening at Macchiarini Gallery. Image by Dylan Bartley.

Me, Chrystal, and her son River at our friend Sydney’s opening at Macchiarini Gallery. Image by Dylan Bartley.

My friend Chrystal is in her final week of an Indiegogo campaign to fund a metalshop in her new home in Petaluma.  I bought a necklace from her as my perk for funding the campaign, and it is bringing loveliness and balance to my life, every time I wear it.  Snap up your perk now!

Chrystal's pieces look amazing worn on the body or as an art piece in your home!

Chrystal’s work looks amazing worn on the body or as an art piece in your home.

Vile Necklace by Chrystal Powell

Vile Necklace with Black Tourmaline by Chrystal Powell

My husband has been working hard on composing a 45 minute score for an amazing local dance company, and the show, which is called MINE, is about to open!  December 6-8 and 11-15, you can see the incredible choreography by RAWdance, and immerse yourself in the haunting tunes my husband wrote to accompany the dancing.  Opening night has already sold out, so don’t delay: reserve your seat.  It is a really exciting time.


6. Three year olds have a tremendous amount of conflicting feelings, and, quite often, this is incredibly challenging to navigate.  However, this intensity  has also led to a massive creative explosion.  I am having so much fun these days going into the imaginal world with my daughter Olive, and the people in her life she loves are teaching her some new ways to express herself as well!

My daughter gaining some musical skills from her Godfather.

My daughter gaining some musical skills from her Godfather.

That’s all for now.  I don’t want to toot my own horn too much, but I do want to profess my profound gratefulness for the gifts I am receiving in my life right now, and try to shift my perspective from fear about change and the unknown, to settling in to what I do have: love, art, and current safety and health.

10 thoughts on “Gratitude Makes me Strong

  1. Gratitude is a funny thing for me right now. I have an amazing amount of stuff and people to be grateful for, but I recently moved and am incredibly homesick right now. It’s very hard to find gratitude and stay positive when facing those moments of extreme sadness and wondering if I’ll ever be back to “normal” again.

    • Thank you for saying that gratitude is hard. It is, indeed, a really radical, difficult perspective, not a PollyAnna pie-in-the-sky place. It is one we must keep returning to, even if it is only for a moment, because the realities of life are too hard at that time. I hope things ease for you soon.

      • You’re very welcome. Being on my own has taught me a lot about gratitude and how to be thankful for the smallest things.

  2. I love this. Gratefulness is something that spreads when it’s shared. Reading your list certainly prompted my own gratitude…
    I’m grateful for unemployment insurance, some paying work (thank you, Rhea!), time for creativity, a home, my husband, his job, enough to eat, libraries, hard-won sobriety.

  3. Grateful for the beauty of this season, for love, creativity, that my mom’s hip replacement went well, that a friend and colleague with a crazy case of life-threatening cancer almost unheard of at his age is finding so much strength, grace and community . . . grateful for dogs and their therapeutic effects on some of us, grateful for the effect gratitude has in the lives of those who practice it. So much more . . . I don’t want to be a comment hog.

  4. First of all, where do I get a prison penpal?! I’m grateful for my man and my kiddos and the selves that they are, my job always inspiring me, my house and being able to help someone in our house, you and mom, Twizzlers and the gym (in equal-ish proportions). There is a lot more, but that’s all for now.

  5. I’m grateful for my friends, my sisters, my ability to express myself through music, and my steady job. Even though my job drives me totally insane more often than not, it’s a weird blessing to be trapped in a dysfunctional place with a few other hilarious people and we make each other laugh every day. Also I get get paid time off!!!

  6. Pingback: BRING ON THE PIE: A Baking Playlist | thirty threadbare mercies

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