I belong to a tightly knit group of long-time writers (we straggled over to the Internet when the old Genie service died, an actual victim of Y2K) who have been together so long we’re sometimes like a grouchy bunch of sisters. By now we can often predict what any of us will say about anything, and we go through periods of annoyance and exuberance by turns. We talk about the craft of writing and the writing life and our families and children and health and diets and agents and everything else. I’m not sure how I would have weathered some of the crises in my life without them, and I formed invaluable professional alliances as well as formed deep, enduring friendships. I met two of my dearest friends there.
One practice we have is a place to list the things we’re grateful for each day. It’s a powerful tool, one that will almost certainly transform a person over time. I’m a great believer in positive thinking, affirmation, encouragement and faith, and there is a lot of science lately that supports the idea that gratitude and positive thinking contribute to health and greatly improved quality of life.
But here is the honest truth–I was very, very grouchy yesterday. I had a slight headache from the weather and had to start the day without breakfast because it was time for my physical (I really hate to start the day without my tea) and when I returned home to cook breakfast, my pepper mill broke and spilled a hundred million peppercorns into my lovely, almost finished omelette and I had to start over. I hurt my hand and knee in a hiking mishap on Sunday and my hand is very sore and swelling and I couldn’t life anything and nobody was taking it seriously (thank goodness I can take it seriously enough for three people!). There’s an annoying snarl with my driver’s license that keeps interfering with my car insurance and no one can seem to get the thing fixed. And I’m behind on the proposal! And—
So, there’s me in high drama mode. Not exactly thankful.
Then one of the writers on this magnificent loop posted a link to an article in the Washington Post about gratitude, and then I read an article about gratitude theory and the way it affects our health. I read about a practice of being grateful for 100 things everyday. My darling CR offered exaggerated sympathy over my sore knee and hand and made me laugh. And the skies clouded up and it snowed and I’m going to go see August Rush this afternoon and eat some popcorn and later make some pie (actually, an apple-blackberry crumble with extra crumble and custard from the English store, and a banoffee pudding) to take to my friend Renate’s house tomorrow, and boy #2 is driving up tonight and it’s going to be CHRISTMAS!! hooray.
I’m grateful for books, for mine and for everyone else’s, and for writers and readers and booksellers and librarians and editors and agents and publishers and book designers and audio readers and Amazon and independent bookstores and big box chains and computers to write on and Ipods to take with me to coffee shops so I can actually write there instead of just plotting.
Grateful for all of you. XOXO
2 thoughts on “Gratitude theory”
Barbara. I am really grateful for that recipe link. Sounds deliciously gross. Will give it a try.
I agree with the whole premise of what you have to say. I keep a daily tally of three things that go well each day. Can be really simple stuff, but that is just fine. Better make the list for yesterday. The techo came and now the beautiful macs are chocka with new stuff. Can think of about 20 things to be grateful for there. And am now off for a great coffee, and if I nab the newspaper, there are two things right there. Told you it doesn’t take much!
I love this. I’m going to do this.
You rock (yet again!).