I have a bad habit that dates from childhood. Once I achieve something, I check it off my list and then move on to the next thing on the list, without spending much time at all enjoying my achievement. My childhood is so far away now, that I have no clear idea of what caused this.
In any case, at one point I got interested in gratitude practice. The idea was for two or more people to write about something they were grateful for, and read what they had written aloud. In this way, they focused on the good things in their lives. I saw it as way to slow myself down, so I could see what I had achieved and what my life was really like.
I did this briefly with a friend. The problem was, it became (in my mind) competitive. My friend wasn’t trying to compete with me, but I felt I was bragging about my life in describing the things I was grateful for. This made me uncomfortable, and we stopped the gratitude practice.
I think the problem was — I was being grateful for achievements, and I ended sounding like the dread Christmas letter that tells everything good that has happened to a family in the past year.
A friend of mine on facebook is doing a gratitude practice right now. Today she is grateful for Honeycrisp apples.
So what am I grateful for? My friends. Harelson apples. My relatives. The approaching winter. Writing. My two writing groups. Patrick. Our joint passion for Jane Austen and Jane Austen movies.
The St. Paul Farmers Market. Facebook. Our plan to drive down the Mississippi tomorrow and look for migrating swans and pelicans.