Yesterday, as we were getting ready for Thanksgiving, I asked the girls what was on their gratitude list. “What’s gwatitude?” June asked. “It is what you are thankful for,” I replied. “It is all the things in your life that you love and appreciate.” They both thought about it. To my delight, the first thing on June’s list was cuddles with Mom. (Yes, parenting win!) Eloise yelled out, “pizza and crayons!” We eventually talked about grandparents, animals, and their teachers at school. And there were some Disney characters in there, too.
I don’t think I understood what gratitude was at their age and to be honest it is a concept that is sometimes hard to grasp as an adult. Another definition of gratitude is a “a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible.” The Greater Good Science Center lists some of the benefits of gratitude which includes: increased happiness and positive mood, more satisfaction with life, less materialism, and greater resiliency.
While this all sounds great, I think it is easy to forget gratitude in the mountains of day-to-day responsibilities. A gratitude practice is defined as “consciously taking note of what you are grateful for and going out of your way to thank the people in your life can improve your mental and physical health.” Thanksgiving is an obvious time to remember gratitude and reboot a gratitude practice and I am always warmed by all the gratitude posts that flood my social media streams on this day.
So, I woke up today wanting to start a gratitude list. It’s a start. You may see more posts for me later on as I add to it.
- Habitat: I like to think of the farm as part of a larger ecology. This summer a pair of eagles started “hanging around” the farm. When the leaves started to fall we realized they had started a nest in our back poplar tree. Watching them build this nest has been such a joy and hopefully a good sign that our farm also makes good habitat. We know this means more vigilance on our part to protect our little lambs and ducks, but I am grateful they are here.
- Craft: Recently a friend used some of our yarn to make this amazing sweater. I always knew she was a master knitter, but to see our wool become yarn become this amazing sweater is really special! Thank you Missy for sharing your transformational project with us!
- Nourishment: Over the summer Chef Georgia Johnson made some small bites with our cheese for an end-of-the-year party to celebrate our first sheep cheese CSA! Just remembering all the deliciousness she made makes me salivate! And her food didn’t just taste good, it was nourishing! Georgia, you amaze me!
- Restoration: In our off-season we are still busy with paperwork and maintenance projects and off-farm work. However, there is also more time to write, reflect, visit with family and friends, and do the things my body needs to heal and stay strong, like swimming and yoga, for the next season ahead. I was able to get away with some friends last weekend to a small island near our house and I am SO grateful for this time together–we knit, walked, ate, sauna-ed. It was restoring and just what I needed. Many thanks to Dean and my Mom for keeping everything running at the farm!This list is to-be-continued! Thanks for reading. What is on your gratitude list?