On Gratitude

The older I get, the more grateful I feel. Part of this change is intentional because I have made a practice of declaring my gratitudes every day. In my garden, where the parsley still thrives, hearty in the morning frost, I give thanks for another day alive on the Earth. Bare feet in the grass and hands on my heart I make a display of myself. My inner critic chatters “What if the neighbors can see you?” and my higher self delights at the thought. This morning worship of dirt and sky. This urban prayer. This is a spectacle that I don’t mind being observed by peering eyes. I hope this vibe spreads like sacred seeds in the wind, over fences and into hearts.

“MOM!!! It’s cold!! You don’t have to do that you know! I’m hungry!! Come back inside!!” says the voice of my child, obstinate and demanding, vital and independent. He for one, does not want the neighbors to see me. The irony of this is that he still jumps on the trampoline naked. But I digress.

The effect of this practice is that gratitude is cumulative. It bubbles up in seemingly random places. When I am facing a divisive and obstinate moment with my son (of which there are many) I am grateful that he is healthy and alive and questioning everything. I am grateful for the basics which really are the most profound things if you think about it: electricity, running water, indoor plumbing. For my husband who is the most patient and loving man I have ever known. He humbles the fuck out of me every day. For bare toes in the grass and handmade bracelets made by tiny fingers (not so tiny any more if I’m honest, he’s growing like a weed before my eyes). For 4pm sunsets that disrupt the chatter of my mind and bring me back to beauty. For waking up another day without a hangover because really this practice is a side effect of the biggest decision of my life: to stop drinking poison that drains my life force and clouds my mind. Sobriety was the catalyst that started my journey back to myself. But that is another post for another time (one I can’t wait to write, as it has transformed my life profoundly).

The shadow lives too. This practice is not one of bypassing my dark side in the favor of love and light. Believe me, I’ve tried. In the shadows of my soul exists a master manipulator, a selfish minx who pursues her pleasure, her desires and her will no matter what the cost. She has devastated hearts and laid waste to trust. She has played with truth and ignored its sacred charge. She is slow to learn and long to heal. She is me and I am her. In the softening of sobriety I have opened a door to my shadow. I have stared at the reality at how brief this life is, and I have invited my demons to tea. “This belongs,” I say in the words of beloved teacher Tara Brach. “This belongs.” For what are our shadows if not our greatest teachers? What is life if not the relentless pursuit of truth and beauty? What am I without gratitude? Alive. I am alive. What a gift.

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus your own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus your own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus your own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.

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