Gratitude For the Little Things


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The word gratitude gets tossed around a lot in November when Thanksgiving nears. It also seems to be gaining ground in popular culture with gratitude journals and gratitude lists. While things that get popular tend to bug me, and I am a pretty mainstream kind of girl, this is a pleasing trend. Something as powerful as gratitude should get attention year-round and not just as a result of a holiday or a pop-culture phenomenon.

Sometimes, we do need the reminder, the prompt. On the days where gratitude does not come spilling out of my being, or when I get carried away in mundane routines, it helps to return to the source of gratitude, the heart. Sometimes, to return to the heart it helps to make a list of the people, the emotions, the things that fill the heart with gratitude. For me, the list can be long and varied. But, almost always it’s for the little things. Some items on the list have deep meaning, some items on the list are more superficial. Here is a list, in no particular order, of things that fill me with gratitude today.

*a mug of hot tea
*sunsets
*sunrises
*chilly days
*receiving a text message from a good friend
*playing board games with my family
*poems that make me cry
*a fireplace, with or without a fire
*a long run at the beginning of the day
*a long road trip
*zipping my tent at night
*pre-schoolers who are excited to see me when I come to teach
*a stranger holding the door for me
*snow caught on winter branches
*realizing a long-held dream
*being on the threshold of meeting a big and scary goal
*the moon, at any time, in any phase
*the crack of a spine of a new composition notebook
*shivering and then enjoying warmth under one of my grandmother’s quilts
*sending a handwritten letter to a friend in the mail
*wearing cowboy boots with my favorite faded jeans
*going to a concert of an artist I love and singing along
*eating watermelon (seeds and all) and strawberries (tops and all) in summer
*digging in a compost bin
*repotting plants into terra cotta pots
*the beauty of daffodils in early spring
*walking alone at midnight
*catching up with a good friend over tea, a run, or shared food
*laughing until I cry
*crying until I laugh
*unintended puns
*writing words that resonate with someone else
*wearing a turtleneck and corduroy jeans (my favorite outfit since I was three)
*a fabulously fake and gaudy bling ring on my finger
*a bookshelf full of good books
*framed pictures of family and friends, and my favorite art, hung on the walls
*learning something new that is difficult enough to make my head hurt
*pausing and taking a deep breath
*a good country song
*hugs
*bandanas
*reading late into the night, bleary-eyed
*a good long soak in the bathtub (and saving for rare occasions to savor the water)
*New Mexico
*the pitter patter of my heart when I have opened myself up to be honest and vulnerable

What fills you with gratitude? What would be on your list today?

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