Practicing Gratitude

I’ve been devouring every word that Brene Brown has written as I try to figure out what happened in my marriage, who I am, and where I go from here. She says that the “whole-hearted” practice gratitude. Since I want to live my life, really live it, in a whole-hearted way, I am going to practice gratitude here.


Feeling ill all day today. We’re on two weeks of remote teaching due to a COVID case at school. Of course I spent the day afraid I have COVID. I’ll probably go get tested tomorrow to be sure. Tonight I crawled into bed and felt relief to be in bed. Tonight, I’m grateful for:

  • Clean sheets
  • My puppy
  • Tylenol
  • My HEPA air filter
  • The smell of fallen leaves
  • My dad, who brought me a few groceries from the store
  • An extra hour


As fall passes here in New England, and the light lessens, I’ve been feeling a bit blue. Pandemic teaching doesn’t help. So I’ve turned back to my go-to comfort of Brene Brown’s audio books. And I was reminded I should be actively practicing gratitude. Funny how it’s so easy to know what you’re supposed to do, but it’s so hard to keep it up. But I’ve been trying to list what I’m grateful for on my drive to work, and I will add my list here before I go to sleep.

  • I’m grateful for my commitment to healing. I keep showing up to therapy. I keep writing. I keep checking in with myself. I’m grateful for my persistence to get better
  • I’m grateful for fall leaves and the leaf blower that easily blows them off my gravel driveway.
  • I’m grateful for my sweet cat Rosie, who’s just the most gentle cat I’ve known.
  • I’m grateful for Rosie, who entertains me and challenges my patience and loves me just the same.
  • I’m grateful for gentle yoga and free weights and walks in the woods.
  • I’m grateful to be able to see my students in person for as long as that’s safe.
  • I’m grateful for soft sheets.
  • I’m grateful to finally go to sleep.


I’m feeling a bit “eh” these last couple of days. When I get like this, it’s hard to feel grateful. But I think the point of actually practicing gratitude is tuning into it, even when you aren’t feeling it. Especially when you aren’t feeling it! So here I go:

  • I’m grateful for today’s snow day. I cleaned my room, which had gotten pretty messy, and now it feels good!
  • I’m grateful for my friends who are there when I need them.
  • I’m grateful for the movie Brittany Runs a Marathon. Seriously, I’ve watched this movie over 10 times, and I find it so inspiring.
  • I’m grateful that I want to move forward, even though it’s crazy scary!
  • I’m grateful for a job that is challenging and satisfying in its hardness.
  • I’m grateful that I keep going to my mat and doing yoga or pilates. It’s not every day, but it’s been a few times each week. I hope I can slowly make it more. But I’m grateful that I’m showing up there more consistently than I even have before.


I’ve been thinking about gratitude a lot this weekend. Yes, it was Thanksgiving, and that was part of it. I’ve also been thinking about practicing gratitude as I’ve been re-listening to a Brene Brown lecture series over the past couple of days. What I’ve noticed is that my gratitude isn’t joyful, or big. It’s more like a long sigh. I’m grateful for time. I’m grateful I’ve made it this far. I’m grateful that in this year I’ve been able to grow and heal and change. I’m grateful the time has passed so that I was able to move out of the excruciating pain of the first months. I’m grateful for the time to come, knowing I will continue to grow stronger.


Well, so much for my goal of every day gratitude. But I’m here now! That’s something. Today I’m feeling grateful for:

  • My lap desk! I bought this for myself right after X left, as I imagined I’d spend all my time in bed. I didn’t (thank goodness) but I love when I can bring it out to use it. It’s light in color, different from a lot of things X picked out (he tended toward dark) and I like the way the light neutral shades feel. Plus, it matches my comforter! Feels like a nice way to write on a morning in bed with coffee and a kitty.
  • I’m grateful for health insurance.
  • I’m grateful for things feeling a bit better in my job. It has been very intense, all consuming work for not a great paycheck. But this week I’m feeling a real shift with the kids.
  • I’m grateful for the kitty in my lap.
  • I’m grateful for a great co-teacher. I don’t think I’d be able to do this job without her.


My goal for the month of November is to write my gratitude daily. As I’m nervous about the upcoming holidays, I really don’t want to let the painful memories of last year dominate my holidays moving forward. I’m not delusional to think I can erase those memories. But I want to make choices that will help shape my experiences moving forward. I think practicing gratitude will help me get there.

I am grateful for writing. I’m grateful that I keep making the decision to sit down and just do it. I’m grateful for my belief in myself, my belief that I really can do this writing thing.

I am grateful for the sunlight today. This poem reminded me of that.

  • I’m grateful for poetry and am excited that I finally figured out how to fit it into my weekly routine in my classroom.
  • I’m grateful for audiobooks, and my current listen of Jo Boaler’s Limitless Mind.
  • I’m grateful for the canceled school day yesterday. I know it will make my life more hectic next week, but I really needed the gift of a day.
  • I’m grateful for a kitty who loves when I’m home in the daytime.
  • I’m grateful for grocery pick-up services. Seriously the best $4.99 I spend every week.


  • I am grateful for autumn in New England. The leaves are vibrant red, yellow and orange. The air is crisp. The drive to and from work is stunning.
  • I am grateful for my sweet kitty. She’s been following me around the house a lot this weekend. I’ll turn around, and there she is, sitting at my feet, looking up at me, waiting for me to pick her up and snuggle her.
  • I’m grateful for my little cabin. It’s cozy and really is starting to feel like my home.
  • I’m grateful for my good health insurance. It was only a $5 co-pay to go to urgent care the other day. And only $2 for the antibiotic. I was seen quickly and I really liked all the people there.
  • I am grateful for this long weekend. While I wish I had another day, I am starting to feel better and hope my energy will pick up this week.


  • Today I am grateful for my writing practice. I’m grateful for the times I can sit and write for long stretches, and the times when I have to set the timer for 10 minutes to force myself to write something.
  • I’m grateful for rest.
  • I’m grateful for facebook’s Marketplace and the ability to buy furniture cheap.
  • I’m grateful for my silly kitty who makes me laugh.
  • I’m grateful for the ongoing support of friends.


  • Today I’m grateful for thinking through boundaries with my in-laws.
  • I’m grateful that I love them, even when I don’t know how they see my situation, and that I know I can walk away, still loving them, even if I feel unsatisfied with how today’s lunch goes.
  • I’m grateful for my focus on my health – three days in a row of abdominal exercises!
  • I’m grateful for my Dad’s insight into people.
  • I’m grateful for another day.


  • Today I am grateful for my strength – I was able to go on a walk/hike for 90 minutes.
  • I am grateful for feeling my feelings. Despite the immense sadness, I actually feel more alive than I have in a long time.
  • I am grateful for Moose. Even though he isn’t with me any more, his memories are a gift. And his time with me was a gift.
  • I am grateful for my friends who checked in with me this weekend to make sure I’m okay. I’m okay.
  • I’m grateful for Rosie. She’s a much smaller presence in this house than Moose was, but she’s sweet and loves me in a weird little way. I love her in a weird little way too.

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