Wednesday, January 02, 2013

One Hundred Reasons to be Grateful this Year

At some point as I was compiling my gratitude list yesterday, I was reminded of the Thanksgiving Prayer I heard recited at the Akwesasne Indian reservation some years back. I was at the reservation with a group of scientists who were studying the Mohawk mothers' breast milk, testing it for PCB contamination.  Before the scientific meeting started, however, a tribal leader gave the traditional Thanksgiving Prayer, sharing with us all the things that the people were grateful for. The prayer lasted a long time, during which the tribal leader made a long list of things in nature, from clouds to strawberries. In effect, he was thanking all of creation and it was very moving and a lovely way to look at the world.

A gratitude list is similar. When you start to notice the things you are grateful for, you realize that you can thank as many things as you can see, and and think of, many, many things you can't see either.

So here it goes, the things I am grateful for:

1) my husband and amazing life partner, Richard Kirsch
2) my children, Jocelyn, Lindsay and Noah, and Jocelyn's husband Evan
3) my parents, Dena and Ric Ricci
4) my in-laws, Abby and Bob Kirsch
5) my sisters Karen and Holly  Ricci
6) my brother Ric, his wife Fawn and their wonderful family, Gretchen and Todd and J.M., and the newest members of the clan, Max and Nora
7) my brothers-in-law, Jim and Billy Kirsch, and their wives, Gayle Kirsch and Julie Simpson
8) my sister-in-law Jo Kirsch and her husband Bob Speck
9) my nieces Sarah and Lauren Donohue
10) my nephews Alex and Julian, and my nieces Natalie, Isabel, Megan and Samantha.
11) my friend Peggy, who is funny and kind and smart and who reads all the fiction I write.
12) my friend Leslie, a wonderful friend and painter and gardener who got me started painting and also taught me how to compost.
13) my friend Louise-Anne, who held my hand this year during one of the most frightening episodes of my life
14) my friend and colleague Nancy Dunlop, an amazing poet and a woman who can be funny and make me laugh and whose shoulder is always available to cry on
15) my friend Lori who is brilliant and creative and sweet and who always makes me smile
16) my friends Sharon and David, who are two of the nicest people in the world (and great writers too.)
17) my friend Nina who I never see enough of
18) my cousin and friend Pat Rotondo, who fortunately lives in the next town over
18) all of the friends and colleagues and acquaintances I haven't listed separately, including Karen, Rebecca, Sandy and Sandy, Barbara, Judi, Lenore, Tyler, Peter and Kathleen, Kellie, Connie, Patrick, Gail, Denise, Maria, Cathie, Becky, Cathy, Kathleen, Dan and Carol, Andy and Kellie and Maya
20) all of my aunts and uncles and my husband's aunts and uncles
21) all of my cousins and my husband's cousins, and my second cousins too
22) all of the people I may have forgotten to list
23) I am grateful that my left ear has stopped ringing, as long as I don't drink coffee
24) I am grateful for my health, as it is ten years ago this year that I had cancer
25) I am grateful for my body, that it basically doesn't pain me anywhere
26) I am grateful that I can jog, even if it's very very slowly
27) I am grateful for my Jewish religion and the Torah, and the synagogue, Hevreh of Southern Berkshire, where we worship, and our wonderful Rabbi, Deborah Zecher, who has been leading our congregation for 20 years
28) I am grateful for my house, and my yard, and my pond, especially in the summer when it's hot, and my bed and my desk and chair. I am especially grateful for grass and flowers in the summer.
29) I am grateful for my car that gets me to where I need to go
30) I am grateful that I can see and hear and feel and touch and smell and taste and talk
31) I am grateful that I have a job that is meaningful
32) I am grateful that I can write
33) I am grateful that I still have my memory
34) I am grateful that I have nourishing food to eat, particularly vegetables and fruits
35) I am grateful that I have clean water to drink, and a hot shower when I need one
36) I am grateful that I have consciousness and that I can think clearly, at least some of the time
37) I am grateful that I can read
38) I am grateful for books
39) I am grateful that I wrote and published two books and several short stories
40) I am grateful that I have the time I need to do things like photography and guitar
41) I am grateful for my guitar, which relaxes me
42) I am grateful for my drum, which does the same
43) I am grateful for my camera, and that I can take photographs whenever I want
44) I am grateful for the internet when it allows me to connect with people and keep abreast of the world
45) I am grateful for my education, which was a privilege
46) I am grateful that I have clothes and shoes and coats and boots
47) I am grateful for flowers and the fact that I can grow them
48) I am grateful for the woodstove and the lovely fires we burn in it
49) I am grateful for sleep and how it refreshes me
50) I am grateful that I have the time to be grateful
51) I am grateful for beautiful sunrises and sunsets and skies full of clouds and empty of clouds
52) I am grateful for all kinds of music and the fact you can get it so easily on the internet
53) I am grateful for coffee even if I only drink it once in a great while
54) I am grateful that I have traveled to places that are special and beautiful
55) I am grateful for all the people who raise the food that I eat
56) I am grateful for my hands and fingers that can type on these keys
57) I am grateful for my eyes, that never cease to amaze me in their ability to see (yes, I know I'm repeating myself but some things are important enough and worth repeating.)
58) I am grateful for all the beautiful hikes we've taken through the years
59) I am grateful for the canoe we got this summer and the relaxing canoe rides we've taken already
60) I am grateful for my hair and my teeth, my fingernails and toe nails
61) I am grateful for my freedom, living in a country which is not a dictatorship
62) I am grateful for the New York Times and NPR, which deliver the news
63) I am grateful for good meals I share with my husband and family
64) I am grateful that my husband cooks so well and makes me good dinners
65) I am grateful that I can digest said dinners
66) I am grateful for all trees and animals, especially little Milo, my daughter's Havanese
67) I am grateful for breath
68) I am grateful for meditation and what it does for me
69) I am grateful for medication and what it helps me do
70) I am grateful to live in a beautiful part of the country
71) I am grateful for dark skies and brilliant stars and planets
72) I am grateful for amazing colors, and the ability to see them
73) I am grateful for laughter and funny jokes and good (smart) comedians like Stephen Colbert
74) I am grateful for good movies which lift my spirits
75) I am grateful for health insurance which helps pays my bills
76) I am grateful to all those who helped to pass the Affordable Care Act, so that more people in this country will have health insurance
77) I am grateful to political activists who fight for the causes that I believe in: clean air, clean water, economic justice, eliminating corporate greed, green issues, human rights issues, climate change, and all the other progressive causes I haven't listed her
78) I am grateful for my local radio station, WAMC and all the news and features it brings me
79) I am grateful for my study, painted lemon yellow.
80) I am grateful that I can paint on canvases with bright swatches of color
81) I am grateful for the painting (above) I did that I am staring at right now.
82) I am grateful for this painting too, one of my favorites
83) I am grateful that several people have asked for my paintings
84) I am grateful that I have the time to paint
85) I am grateful that I have the freedom to learn to do anything I want to do
86) I am grateful for sunny days and mild spring breezes
87) I am grateful for wine, even though I can't drink much
88) I am grateful that my son-in-law is such an amazing guy, and an incredible cook
89) I am grateful for libraries, even though I don't rely on them as much as I should
90) I am grateful for coffee shops, the names of which I won't mention here
91) I am grateful for art museums, especially the free ones in Washington, D.C.
92) I am grateful for love, and that probably should be number one on the list.
93) I am grateful that I had four grandparents that I knew well into my adulthood
94) I am grateful for my Italian heritage, which is filled with art, good food and good times
95) I am grateful for chocolate even if I don't eat that much of it
96) I am grateful for peanut butter, especially smeared on slices of a good apple
97) I am grateful for the birds that come to the feeders, especially the newest arrival, the red-bellied woodpecker with such a beautiful downy yellow color
98) I am grateful for my cell phone and all the people and information it connects me to.
99) I am grateful that I have learned a thing or two about being forgiving, and learned that it makes living a lot easier not to be toting around resentment or bitterness.
100) I am grateful that the surgery I was scheduled to have tomorrow was postponed indefinitely as the problem seems to be resolving on its own. This should probably be way up high on the list.

Finally, I am grateful to be finishing my gratitude list, at least for now. The challenge for me is to learn to remain in gratitude, being thankful as I go through the day.

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