With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, I decided to simply write down a list of 20 things I am thankful for. Give it a try. You will be amazed by what shows up on your list.
1. My family – through thick and thin they have always supported me and given me courage and encouragement to be myself. My parents and sister especially endure my constant doubting and have listened to me complain; but in the end they stand by me and teach me how to pull myself up, dust myself off, and start all over again.
2. My pets Sancho (my dog) and Dulcinea (my cat). There is nothing better than the unconditional love animals give you. I’m still working on that outdoor stray. She let me pet her this evening.
3. My friends. All of them are great people whom I choose to be around and consider an extension of my family. There is something in each and every one of them that lights up a different part of me.
4. My house. Shelter from the storm and a creative zone as well.
5. My job. Though I’ve outgrown it, I still get a chance to talk about books, short stories, and poetry, and that’s not too shabby. Plus, it’s good money, and that’s something to be thankful for as well.
6. Books. Never do I want to live in a world where books do not exist. Never. They are thrilling, beautiful, and artistic. They express the human condition through stories and poetry. They are literary artwork that can be framed in a bookshelf and used for comfort, knowledge, entertainment, romance, action, thrills, escape, and understanding.
7. Yoga. Simply put, this has been essential to not only my physical well-being, but my spiritual and mental well-being. And, I’d be lying if I didn’t include that I love the fact that I am 35 years old and can finally do a headstand. . . something I couldn’t do when I was 5 years old.
8. Teachers. This doesn’t only include those of us who hold that title. It includes the people who have passed through my life or are here in it right now that teach me a life lesson. I’m blessed in the sense that I meet some really great people.
9. TV. Yeah, I know, but it’s a way to transport yourself and have stories told to you when you’re too tired to read them in a book. Plus, 30 Rock and NCIS alone are reasons enough to own a TV. Now, if reality shows would just make their exit stage left. . .
10. My computer. What a great tool to use to stay connected and to use for writing purposes.
11. Sunshine. No matter how cold or hot the day, to have a moment in the sun is enough to lift the soul. (Though, rainy, overcast days sometimes are needed for brain battery recharges, i.e., naps. Ooh…naps. I should add that to the list!)
12. My trees outside my house. The gumball tree is always losing gumballs and they’re a pain to pick up; but oh the colors those leaves give me in the fall are priceless. And, my oak trees are a source of inspiration to me because I think they are strong, hardy trees that provide so much in nature. They cover the ground with leaves and if left there the leaves become natural fertilizer and help animals build shelters. They withstand harsh winds and only lose minor branches. They bear acorns and give food, and they are the last to lose their leaves, therefore giving protection to many birds.
13. Music. Another form of expression that inspires and excites me or soothes and comforts me.
14. Being an American. This is not a political, right-winged statement. I’ve traveled enough in this world to realize how well we have it in this country. The opportunity to be anyone you choose to be should never be taken lightly.
15. A strong work ethic. Thanks to my parents, aunts and uncles, and grandparents, I know that I can do anything I set my mind to. I have to be in the right time and the right place, for sure, but hard-work and dedication to a vision will make the journey more powerful for certain.
16. Humor. I applaud all those who have a sense of humor. It sure makes life a hell of a lot easier to bear when the going gets tough. It also lightens the mood when people are taking themselves way too seriously.
17. Midwesterners. We’re good people. Just read Carl Sandburg’s poems or listen to Garrison Keillor’s “Prairie Home Companion” and you’ll know we’re good people.
18. Art. Oh! How could I have forgotten this until later on the list? Anyway, I have friends who are visual artists, and what a pleasure it is to see their handiwork go from their mind’s eye to a canvas. Also, I appreciate great art in this world from the masters to the unknowns and everyone in between. It allows me to be emotional without analyzing its purpose; and to be able to have a story told to you through a vision on a canvas or any piece of sculpture (functional or nonfunctional) amazes me.
19. Being an aunt. Through Ben (age 3) and the times I spend with Jordan (age 15), I have learned so much on how to be a caregiver, a good listener, a friend, a child or a teenager again, an entertainer, and an authority figure. Plus, I get to say “I love you,” and when annoyed, right back to the parental units they go. Ha!
20. Me. Not in an egotistical sense. I am humbled at times when I stop and think that I am someone that affects other people through my actions and reactions. That I am learning to peel back the layers of myself to find my true self and share that with others as best as I can so I can leave my world a little bit better and filled with a little bit more of my unique qualities. What a gift. What a gift to be open to as well because if you can be more of yourself, others will get to be more of themselves until one day all are free of the trappings of who they think they should be and can live life in peace and harmony with one another.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!!!!!!!!