One of the “homework assignments” that I often give my clients is to write a gratitude list of twenty things. I explain that the list must be specific (they can’t just say “family”, they have to drill down about what they are grateful “My son’s smile in the morning”). I have them keep this list with them and refer to it often. I encourage them to recognize both the big and little things. For my drug and alcohol clients, it is a list of things that they might lose if they continue with their addiction. For my clients with anxiety it is used as a tool to calm them down and center them. For my clients with depression it helps to remind them of hope in their darkest hours. I have kept my own gratitude list for many years. I have changed it many times, but it has always been a beacon of hope during difficult times in my life. Here is my most recent:
- I am grateful for a perfectly brewed cup of black coffee first thing in the morning.
- I am grateful for clean sheets on my bed.
- I am grateful for the experience of watching my nieces and nephews change and grow.
- I am grateful for my husband’s smile and how his eyes are the color of coffee beans.
- I am grateful new pens.
- I am grateful for Prince, Tori Amos, David Bowie, Paula Cole, Elton John, Boy George and all the other musicians that made me feel not so alone in my youth.
- I am grateful for therapy in how it has helped me and allowed me to help others.
- I am grateful for books being a constant when I crave solitude.
- I am grateful for the Spanish language and how it continues to hypnotize me with its beauty.
- I am grateful for my Ipad and how it allows me to listen to music, read books and communicate with my loved ones.
- I am grateful for my job as a professor, the amazing students, the great atmosphere and the time off.
- I am grateful for being gay and how it has created in me a deep empathy and passion for social justice that I might otherwise not know.
- I am grateful for weight loss surgery. It saved my life.
- I am grateful for my sense of self and how it allows me to be vulnerable.
- I am grateful for knitting and how each stitch is like a tiny meditation.
- I am grateful for the way my dogs cuddle with me on the couch.
- I am grateful for moments with my parents when we saw each other as humans rather than as parent/child.
- I am grateful that at 39, I have achieved many of my life goals.
- I am grateful that at times I have the ability to still surprise myself.
- I am grateful that I have friends who will call me out on my shit.
I am also grateful that I can come up with twenty (and probably twenty more if needed). There was a time in my life when I was unable to come up with no more than five.
Tonight, I finished the Alaska Hat. Originally, I thought the color patterns of the yarn were too short and bold. However, I love how it turned out.
However, my most exciting news of the week was being gifted a “Babe” spinning wheel by local textile business. I had gone into the business to play on (by play on, I mean lust over) spinning wheels that I can’t afford. As I was leaving, the lady offered me for free a spinning wheel that was in the corner. I gladly accepted, took it home, cleaned it up and posted a photo on a Spinner’s Group on Facebook. Almost immediately, it was identified as a Babe Spinning Wheel by group members and the owner of the company (who is a member of the group) messaged me and directed me toward the website to buy supplies for the wheel. I am ecstatic over the wheel and can’t wait to spin on it!