Winter Leaf In Pink Ice I & II, February 2007, Mabel Dodge Luhan
House, Taos, New Mexico, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey.
All rights reserved.
I don’t do New Year’s resolutions anymore. Wasted time. Wasted space. I never seem to follow through. Why project promises into the future, I’m not likely to keep? I’d rather head over to a friend’s house tomorrow night, sit in community with others, reflect on the year, and make a Gratitude List.
What’s a Gratitude List? Some call it counting your blessings. If you’re in recovery, gratitude and service work are a big part of the way to freedom from the chains of regret (past), self-pity (present), and longing (future). The idea is not to dwell on scarcity and the people, places, and things you don’t have – but to focus on what you do.
I’ve been making a Gratitude List for the last 2 or 3 years. At the end of December, I sit down and list all the good, positive things that have happened to me over the last year.
I’m not talking about monumental occurrences, although they can surely be included. I mean the small stuff:
- the way I feel when I see Mr. StripeyPants at the end of my work day and want to eat him alive
- the sound of “Love you, Honey!” or “Hi, it’s Mom” from the electronic bowels of the answering machine
- the smell of Rocks baking in our kitchen
- the trickling flakes before the scarlet Moon on Christmas Eve
- big round Bear hugs from you know who
I was right in there with ybonesy about how the space between Christmas and New Year’s can be challenging. And to tell you the truth, I was doing great yesterday. This morning I woke up to go to work feeling disoriented and lost. Thick-headed. I wanted to run ahead, far away from the present, and long jump into the New Year, both feet stretching forward.
But what’s the rush? Why not stop for a moment and write down the Good Stuff. Have you really slowed down long enough to look closely at the snowy down of a thistle? Or a leaf captured in the icy claws of Winter? This year I feel lucky to be able to make my list in community with others who will bear witness to the process.
I received this lovely email from my friend reminding us of tomorrow’s gathering. I don’t think she will mind if I post part of it:
I am looking forward to having you come on Saturday to write, reflect, and commune. Remember to come with notebook, pen, and any beverage you need outside of water and peppermint & chamomile tea.
Please plan to arrive between 6:45 & 7 p.m. I’d like to begin at 7, so if you get here 5 or 10 minutes early, we’ll have time to socialize and get settled.
We’ll begin with a bit of silence & poetry (Hey, I didn’t study with Natalie Goldberg for nothing!), so if you’re running late call me because we’ll be waiting to start until everyone is here.
What are *you* grateful for? If you are so moved, you can add your Gratitude List to the Comments.
If you want to get creative, use an ABC meme. Or do a Writing Practice that begins, “I am grateful for…”
It doesn’t matter how you do it. But write everything down. It’s amazing the power that words have. And a community to bear witness.
I guarantee you’ll feel better when you’re done. Your Holiday blues will turn a corner, and warm to a crimson shade of frosty pale.
-posted on red Ravine, Friday, December 28th, 2007