7. Gratitude and You

Gratitude is being grateful, being thankful. Often in our lives, we take for granted all the things we enjoy, appreciate, and are blessed with. This may be because we don’t notice these things or it may be because we believe we deserve to have these things and are upset we don’t have more things that we want.

When we notice there are things in our lives that make our lives a little easier or more fun or enjoyable, we feel better. This might start with the very basic.

Exercise 1:

  1. Begin to write what you are thankful for, working by peeling an onion from the inside out- if that’s even possible. LOL To begin- Write: I am thankful for…
  2. First write a list of the basic things that you are grateful for. What about food you have to eat? A roof over your head? Clothes on your back?
  3. Next write who you are thankful for in your life. Your family? Your pets. Your friends? Your neighbors? Your co-workers. Name them by name.
  4. Next write you are thankful for the things you enjoyed today. Begin today. What things today made you happy? I am thankful for the bean and cheese tacos we made for dinner. I am thankful to my husband for cooking for us. I am thankful for drinking coffee with my friend Alexa at the coffeehouse today. I am thankful for coffee, for the free refill, the knit art sculptures hanging on the walls, and sitting with her for three hours talking. I am thankful for conversations with the neighbor, for sitting outside in her lawn on the turquoise blue Adirondack chairs, for beginning to shiver once the sun began to go down.
  5. You could even take an extra step and write how you are thankful for all the people who you come into contact with or that products you use have contacted others. Example: I am grateful for those who plant the crops and harvest them. I am grateful for those who drive the produce I buy to the store where I buy it. I am grateful for the woman with the big smile and nose ring at the grocery store who often rings up my groceries. I am thankful for the drug store clerk who told me she was frustrated with people stealing makeup and liquor. I am thankful for the person who packaged the face cream I bought. I am thankful for the people working on the road by my house, etc.
  6. Write the things you are thankful for, putting in detail and noting that there are things you may recognize in the writing them down that you wouldn’t have noticed without really paying attention and being/feeling grateful.

Next, notice how it is to feel grateful. Where do you notice that gratefulness in your body? How often do you allow yourself to feel grateful? Write down what it feels like to you to feel grateful?

Exercise 2:

Write down what you are grateful to yourself for. Begin with your body. What does your body do that your are grateful for? I am grateful for my hands that can pick up and hold a guitar and my fingers that can strum it. I am grateful for my foot that taps as I play. I am grateful for my eyes that see music in a book. I am thankful to my ears that can hear the rhythm.

What else can your body do that you feel grateful to it for? What do you do and notice in your body that you feel grateful for? Our bodies do so much, they get us through this life day by day. Write what else you feel grateful to your body for?

When we take time to notice what we are grateful for, not only do we become more in tune with ourselves in the world around us, we become more in tune with that which makes us feel good, with that which makes us happy. When we notice regularly that which makes us feel grateful or thankful, we also become more positive people. Rather than saying I don’t have this, we are automatically reframing our perspective to say, look what I do have and how lucky I am to have it and I am grateful for that.

We can still set goals and make efforts toward bettering ourselves, but we can simultaneously be grateful for what we do have, from the most basic to the fanciest, and to ourselves for getting us through, for surviving, for thriving, for our creativity, for our attitudes, for noticing joy, for feeling, for being beautifully human.

I am grateful for your visit to the site today. If you would like to continue to write about yourself, please follow the blog and join us on Tuesdays. Thank you for being here.

Best,

Liza

Published by lizawolfffrancis

Liza Wolff-Francis is a poet and writer with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Goddard College who is proud to have served two terms as a member of the Albuquerque Poet Laureate Program’s Selection Committee. She was co-director for the 2014 Austin International Poetry Festival and a member of the 2008 Albuquerque Poetry Slam Team. She has an ekphrastic poem posted in Austin’s Blanton Art Museum by El Anatsui’s sculpture “Seepage” and her work has most recently appeared in Steam Ticket, eMerge, Minute Magazine, Weaving the Terrain: 100 Word Southwestern Poems, Bearing the Mask: Southwestern Persona Poems, Poetic Routes, Poetry Pacific, Edge, and on various blogs. She has a chapbook out called Language of Crossing (2015, Swimming with Elephant Publications), which is a collection of poems about the Mexico- U.S. border. She loves breakfast food, popcorn and dark chocolate.

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