Student Blogger, Therese: Gratitude

Expressing gratitude is a sometimes daily, sometimes bi-weekly ritual I practice. I am mindful to do this, especially when I am feeling rant-rant-rant.

Rant-rant-rant is an expression of my developmentally- disabled- half- sister that she coined when she witnessed me feeling extremely stressed over challenges concerning getting her the care she needed. She calmly stated to me, “Therese, no rant-rant-rant.”

I admit, I feel more enthusiastic and in tune to being grateful when life is skippity-yippity-joy. My gratitude ritual is initiated when watching the sun is setting, which always inspires gratitude.

My favorite experiences and things make my heart smile and feel gratitude, and also inspire me to nurture and care for myself. They include my favorite orange- smart-wool-cushy socks; my red shawl; and watching the flame of fire in a candle, an open fire pit, the fire in a fireplace, or pretty much any flame, as long as it is not someone’s home burning. These things make me feel pretty serene.

My list of favorites continues: cold-crisp-lime-brine-cucumbers; the scent, knowingness and anticipation of a pot of soup cooking; pillows that I can hug; picking fresh tomatoes, wiping them clean with the cleanest part of my shirt, adding a dash of sea salt, then biting into them as juice rolls down my chin; logging onto Blackboard and seeing I received an A in the course I was climbing the walls over; getting a surprise e-mail or even better, a phone call, from one of my favorite friends from the south and enjoying listening to their accent; not getting a call from a telemarketer; lying in the sun and feeling the heat rays gently penetrating my skin; lying in the shade looking up at the branches of a tree as they sway in the wind; listening to the Native flute while someone else is playing it; and creating anything with my hands, but especially recycled jewelry.

My ritual of immersing myself in things that comfort me stems from my childhood. I have carried many traditions I created through the years, while I have released others. One thing I have released is drinking warm milk. Has anyone else had the experience of someone from the older generation suggesting that you drink warm milk if you awaken in the middle of the dark-cold night? It certainly did nothing to soothe my restlessness. I have come to the conclusion this resulted from a marketing campaign from the dairy association.

Gratitude on any given summer day includes seeing a gopher snake slither away from me in the garden; taking a walk  along the plateaus to keep my moving more goal; having the discipline to refrain from sugar, wheat, or dairy while I cleanse my body for five days (yes five, the first three days I was rant, rant, rant); watching the movie “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” (It was sooo good…definitely worth dropping by the neighbors’ to watch on their mega-Blu-ray screen ma-jig); and talking to the stars in the sky (yes, talking to them.)

The awareness and peace of mind from simply being in a state of grace tops my list of gratitude.

What I realize is that emotions embodied during experiences are what create gratitude.

My gratitude list varies day to day, yet my favorites seem to remain somewhat constant.  I am grateful for my favorite experiences, such as listening to four roosters crowing in synchronicity.

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