Thanks. by Liz Thorpe

Six years ago, a book and class called Mama Gena’s School of the Womanly Arts changed my life. Among many things, the experience gave me a toolbox to carry through life. The most profound tool in this box has been articulated gratitude.

Mama Gena likens gratitude to digestion after a meal– you can sit down and eat the most exquisite, savory, delicious feast but if you don’t digest that meal you will never have room in your belly for more goodness.

There’s only room for so much, and acknowledging the goodies makes space for more goodies to manifest.

I’ve discovered that there’s even more to gratitude.

Expressing gratitude makes you happier.

Expressing gratitude makes you more observant, which makes you more likely to see goodies for which to be grateful, the expression of which makes you happier. It’s the opposite of a vicious cycle.

This Thanksgiving, do yourself, your loved ones and the world a favor: give thanks for all that you have and are. Take 5 minutes. Stop what you’re doing. Be grateful.

Especially in these bitter days after Ferguson I am grateful for my child’s life and health. I am so grateful my people are whole and strong and well. I forget about illness and injury and how utterly derailing and devastating they can be.

I am grateful to be building a professional identity on my terms, based around my own projects, reporting to mine own self. I am grateful to be learning what I do and don’t love about this.

I am grateful to be living in a place where the sun shines in November, the air smells like wet, verdant plants and I can still wear shorts sometimes.

I am grateful for my friends, for the intimacy and familiarity of those relationships, regardless of time and space. I am grateful to recognize how important community is as I struggle to build a new one.

I am grateful for a house where my kid can ride her bike. Inside.

I’m grateful that I have the means to procure and enjoy wonderful, nourishing and beautiful foods. Kale right now is so green it’s practically black. Here, there are tiny, seedless oranges called satsumas. Gumbo is my new comfort food.

I’m grateful for technology. Washing machines and dryers are amazing. Ditto dishwashers. And audio systems that make music play out of the air for free. I’m grateful for Pandora.

I’m grateful to be contributing to my retirement savings this year, after not doing so for the past 2.

I’m grateful to be saying no to work that feels wrong. It’s so, so scary to turn down the money, the accolades, the acknowledgement, the external affirmation. But every time I do it, I feel better, I stand taller.

And so, the question goes: What are you grateful for?