Saturday, October 25, 2008

The State of being Grateful

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity.... It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.
~Melodie Beattie
The neighbors (nothing to do with gratitude, but I took this on my morning walk).

On my mind lately has been what to write for my entry in the Green Mom's Carnival, on the topic of three green things for which I’m most grateful. This month it is hosted by the lovely and hanky-toting Karen Hanrahan.

My first thought was, of course, hankies. Hankies? Yes, HANKIES! No longer the sole domain of librarians, grandmothers and spinster aunties, it’s time we all stood up and shouted: “Say it loud! I blow my nose on hankies (instead of paper tissues) and I’m proud.” Or something like that. Perhaps I need to work on a catchier slogan. But hankies can wait for another post.

Because I’ve been out-classed (happily so). Instead of my own ego-centric writing I’d like to share a marvelous post I found while searching online for inspiration about gratitude.

Finding Leo Babauta’s blog, Zen Habits was like the proverbial breath of fresh air. The site is marvelous. Three Truths to Help you Create a Life of Gratitude was guest written by Chris Guillebeau of The Art of Non-Conformity. It is absolutely spot on. Read the article. Please. Really. Take a deep relaxing breath and read it now.

And then, I extend Chris’s Gratefulness Challenge: This is not a theoretical challenge–it’s designed to be quite practical.

Over the next 30 days, I would like to challenge you to create your own life of gratitude in a way that is meaningful to you, and to begin practicing acts of gratefulness more than you have ever done before. I’ll be doing it along with you, and so will a lot of other readers. It’s always good to be specific, so here are some ideas… but don’t let these limit you.

  • Spend three minutes every morning writing down a few things you are grateful for that day.
  • Devote a full morning or afternoon to composing a more detailed gratefulness list. (One tip: think both about what you are grateful for and also how you can show that gratitude
  • Make it a habit to encourage at least one person every day
  • Review your finances to make sure they are in order and aligned with your values

  • Plan something fun, like a trip to somewhere you’ve never been

  • For one day (or more), say something positive to every person you meet

In closing I'd just like to say that I am grateful for you, dear readers, for the abundance with which I am surrounded, for the encouragement and support I receive from people who seem to appear out of nowhere when I need them most, for the natural world which changes beautifully each day, and for all of the possiblities that lay ahead.

Now, it's your turn. Go!


  1. Inspirationally stated.

    I'm with you on the hankie, but I carry an "AP" which in old Girl Scout terms stands for All Purpose.

    I use it to blow my nose and wipe my face, but it also came in handy last week at a business meeting when I knocked over a full coffee cup with my computer. When I don't know what to do with my sweater, I use the AP to tie it to my purse handles. On cold nights, it's filled with rice/corners tied and then microwaved for my cold feet. On hot days, it's a wash cloth. On the HOTTEST days, I tie a wet AP around my neck. AND, I just touched my head and realized it's currently tying up my hair... It's the ultimate multitasking tool.

  2. Three minutes is a great idea to put the day in perspective. I bet if you do that first thing in the morning, your whole day will be so much better.

  3. Mother Earth aka Karen HanrahanOctober 26, 2008 at 7:08 AM

    i really like... gratitude turns what we have into enough

    talk about simple and elegant

    from one hankie lover to another, we are cool aren't we ??

    to your neighbors on your walk... moo

    welcome to our carnival alline!!

  4. I'm trying to decide if my 2 y.o. will give me 3 minutes each morning so that I can write down how grateful I am to have her (and her big sister) in my life. Maybe not, but I still think it every morning!

  5. I love the idea of writing 3 minutes a day! (now will I do it?)

  6. So, I'm trying to say something nice to every person today - even stopping to say hello without rushing by people. It is amazing how responsive people are! Try it.


  7. I like the idea of encouraging people every day. One afternoon, a young neighbor of mine watched unseen while I sang a song to my toddler to snap him out of a post-nap teary bout of crankiness. She popped out and shouted, "You are a great mom! No really, I've been watching you and you are." I actually *teared up* it was so wonderful to have her say that -- you've reminded me of how simple it would be to pass that feeling on. Thanks.

  8. How about those word magnets on the refrig? They offer a great way to say 'great' that doesn't take up too much time!


Now it's your turn - what do YOU think?