I’m in a unique and special free-writing group. Our rules are quite simple. We follow Natalie Goldberg’s practice of doing timed writings.
I bring in prompts, which are sentence starts like the ones in my book. One woman reads one, while another woman sets a timer. When it goes off, we go around the circle, reading what we wrote. We don’t comment. Sometimes we respond to each other’s writings during the next round of writing, offering sympathy, understanding, and occasionally offering advice, if it is requested.
After eight years, I think of these women as my writing sisters. We’ve seen each other through relationships, marriages, divorces, births, deaths, and endless stories of child rearing and adolescent angst.
Since we’re a writing group, we’ve also seen each other through publication. One person published a memoir with Simon & Schuster. Another’s been in over 15 anthologies. Two more have published memoirs. One has written a self-help book. One is a blogger. One owns an e-zine.
A couple of years ago, a member named Annie began making lists to organize her thoughts and stimulate them. Her lists worked so well for her that we’ve all tried them at one time or another.
So, in honor of Annie, here’s a gratitude list that will probably morph into more as one idea leads to another in an ongoing spiral of thought:
- I’m grateful that I chose to be my mother’s caregiver.
- I’m also grateful those days are over. It’s nice to be living proof that there’s life after caregiving, and I am grateful that she is no longer in pain.
- I’m grateful that I’ve found a new level of happiness since I married my husband, Richard. There’s no one else in the world quite like him and our story is a source of joy and amazement that I may soon be telling the world.
- I’m grateful that Richard keeps reminding me that you don’t lose until you quit trying.
- I’m grateful for Mikko McPuppers, an aging shih tzu, who has kept me company since I adopted him six years ago. He’s my first dog ever.
- I’m grateful I no longer have to sit in commute traffic on my way to a face-to-face job.
- I’m grateful that I can pick and choose my jobs and do them from home.
- I’m grateful for all the books that are sent to me for review, and for the fact that Richard, who used to listen to books on tape, started reading some of the ones I’ll never get to.
- I’m grateful that I have the basics. I’m not scrambling for food, clothing, or shelter. I have a belief system, a sense of integrity, and more than one purpose in life.
- I’m grateful for the weather—the way the sun can bake my skin and the way a wind can cool it off. I’m grateful that there is more beauty than ugliness in my world.
What are you grateful for right now… at this exact moment? A spouse, a child, a job, a philosophy, a phone call, a text, an unexpected “thank you”, a snack, a plan, or something I have not listed?
Gratitude lists are a great way to journal. I’d love to read yours. Make it short or long. Make it simple or go off on tangents. Gratitude lists are a great way to reminder yourself of everything that’s right in your life. What will go on yours?
Not sure how to start? Begin with “Today I am grateful for….”
Post it here or send it to me at [email protected]. One of you who submits a list will win a free copy of my book, You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers!
Photo Credit: Gail Lynne Goodwin