Gratitude List: Day 8

by Dian Reid-Jancic· Follow Dian on

c.1500, from M.L. gratitudo “thankfulness,” from L. gratus “thankful, pleasing”

Have you ever written down a gratitude list? Maybe you’ve put 10 things on a list. Maybe you were glad you did it because it reminded you that you actually like some things in your life. And then you put the list down and never thought about it again. Until you saw these lists and became inspired to create a new list of your own. You saw 39 things on my list and thought, Wow! I can’t come up with 39, I’ll just start with 10… Maybe that’s you. Let me tell you why I chose 39, and maybe you’ll reconsider that list of 10 (or less than 39).

The {Naked} Elephant inspired me to create the list in the first place. Andrea started off with 35 things. I thought, Wow, 35 things! I wonder if I can come up with that many. I wonder why she chose 35? That’s a lot. And then I read the list again. I bet she just sat down and started writing. I bet she didn’t have a plan at all. I bet some of those things just popped into her head, as if from nowhere but a distant past. And then I sat down to my own list.

As I began listing my own things, I realized that I work best with a plan. I needed a number. For me, 35 seemed too square of a number, even if it had seemed random on Andrea’s list {which it was, since the rest of her lists vary in number, from 16-23). Then the number 39 just popped into my head. Hey, didn’t Eat, Pray, Love have 39 stories in each chapter? It didn’t. It has 36, but the number 39 was already stuck in my head, and that was random emough for me and my “plan”. Elizabeth Gilbert’s reasoning behind 36 stories in each chapter was to honor the 108 beads on a Mala (36 x 3 = 108). My reasoning behind 39 points of gratitude was to honor authenticity. And the way to authenticity is to dig a little deeper.

A list of 10 or 12 things I’m grateful for only scratches the surface. By the 20th line I’m on a roll. And by 30 or so, I’m back to digging. These lists require thought, and a lot of it. These lists require me to uncover pieces of myself I hadn’t looked at in a while, in addition to some of the beauty around me that I let go unnoticed when I walk/drive/ride my bike down the street. And with all of that said, the lists do me no long-term growth if I do nothing with them.

What to do with the lists? For now, I post them. I share them. I release them into the Universe and let gratitude’s energy surround me. And when I get to the end of the month and have 14 lists and 546 points of gratitude, I’ll sit down and think about how to use it all to grow. But for now, I’ll simply be present with today’s list. I won’t worry about getting to 39, I’ll just start with 1 and see where it leads me:

39 points of gratitude: Nature.

  1. Butterflies. Talk about natural beauty.
  2. Sunflowers. I love how they lean toward the sun.
  3. The giant tree in Japan my grandfather was adamant about taking me to in 2002. Simply wild.
  4. Hummingbirds.
  5. Grapes (and the wine that is possible because of them).
  6. Clean rain.
  7. Cows in open pastures.
  8. Galloping horses with nothing and no one on their backs.
  9. Toastie, the first horse I ever rode all by myself in the forest.
  10. Fresh powder on Mammoth Mountain.
  11. Seeing my breath in the crisp morning air.
  12. Those rare times when the air is not hot, not cold, but just…there.
  13. Snowflakes.
  14. The little cave-tunnel in between beaches at Leo Carrillo.
  15. The California coastline.
  16. Dandelion clocks (which my grandfather claimed to hate, but he loved the joy on my face while I blew all the seeds away and watched them fly loose in the air).
  17. Cotton (and the way J. Crew uses it to make super soft t-shirts).
  18. The smell of pine trees—reminds me of Christmas in Big Bear as a kid.
  19. The natural high I get from a 20-minute run outside in the fresh air.
  20. The layer(s) of fat in my body that protect me from cold and harm.
  21. Pumpkins and all the deliciousness that we can create from them.
  22. Bright, white, billowy cumulus cloudscapes and the fat blue sky that resides in the background.
  23. The Mighty (Muddy) Mississippi, and all the life it helps to create.
  24. Granite quarries.
  25. Stalactites and stalagmites. So pretty, and kind of fun to say.
  26. Wild animals in the wild.
  27. Flying squirrels.
  28. Molecules and atoms and electrons and neurons and all those scientific things that make up life on earth (which are way over my head).
  29. Trade winds.
  30. Love, in all its forms.
  31. A waxing crescent moon.
  32. Ocean breezes.
  33. A salmon’s strength and determination to make it upstream.
  34. Knots in wood. Perfection in imperfection.
  35. Wild strawberry fields.
  36. Muscle tones.
  37. Curiosity (the kind that didn’t kill the cat).
  38. The smell of gardenias, which remind me of my grandmother.
  39. Roots. Of trees, of plants, of flowers, of squares, of people.

Took me 30 minutes to come up with 39 things today. Much less time than yesterday’s list. How about you?

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