This fall is a full semester. A very full load of preps. Lots of student recommendations to write. Even as I begin to consider my next sentence, I feel as though I’m drawing up my list of complaints, my explanation for why my life is so hard right now. Do you ever find yourself doing that? Justifying your exhaustion? Explaining away your sad mood?

That’s why I need to get back to gratitude lists. Not to ignore all the difficult things, but to balance them. The other stuff is there, and it will still be there, and I need to process it all and get to work on it, but brooding on it, obsessing about it, only causes insomnia and agitation to add to the list of woes. If my mind had to jump to enumerating lists, let it be my reasons for not, for contentment, for satisfaction.

Gratitude List:

1. I slept the whole way through the night last night.

2. My good, good colleagues.

3. Good books. My favorite escape.

4. Today is a light day, lots of breathing spaces in it.

5. Falling asleep to the sound of the rain.

May we walk in Beauty.

“Look! Look! Look deep into nature and you will understand everything.”
~ Albert Einstein
“The only trap I must beware not to fall into, is to think that each day is the same as the next. In fact, each morning brings with it a hidden miracle, and we must pay attention to this miracle.”
~ Paulo Coelho
“In the end, so much of the conflict we feel in our hearts is because we’ve split ourselves off from the very life we are living. We partition ourselves from the things with which we are at odds, treating them as unbelonging even as we live them. We vaguely imagine some other place, some better job, some other lover – but the irony is that so much of what makes us unhappy is our own rejection of the life we have made. Eventually we must take our life into our arms and call it our own. We must look at it squarely with all its unbecoming qualities and find a way to love it anyway. Only from that complete embrace can a life begin to grow into what it is meant to become.”
–Toko-pa Turner
“There is a notion that creative people are absentminded, reckless, heedless of social customs and obligations. It is, hopefully, true.” –Mary Oliver
“Love is the strongest force the world possesses and yet it is the humblest imaginable.” –Mahatma Gandhi
“People who talk only to communicate are different from people who talk for pleasure. People who talk for pleasure, as opposed to people who talk to communicate, become wonderful talkers over the years. They have eloquence.”
—Wendell Berry
“You must not only aim right, but draw the bow with all your might.”
–Henry David Thoreau
“Be curious, not judgmental.” –Walt Whitman
Out in the dawn, a misty sea
in walnut tree
a silent crow
will dream of snow

will ruffle feathers in the chill
will wait until
the first bright ray
begins the day

then with a final shake will rise
from branch to skies
and this will be
a memory
–Beth Weaver-Kreider

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