great and full = grateful

"Feeling grateful or appreciative of someone or something in your life actually attracts more of the things that you appreciate and value into your life." -Christiane Northrup

There's been so much going on in my head since the new year started. It's like a constant hum vibrating through me, all the things I want to do this year, all the intentions I have, all the experiences I want to try, all the ways I want to be better, that I want to thrive and grow and be amazing. I have a lot of plans in the works, which I'll be writing about in future posts. Today, I am truly inspired by Dian and Lindsey's recent posts on gratitude. I know that I can get very wrapped up in my own stuff, my insecurities and fears, my stresses and the daily grind of life. I also deeply feel it's important to stop and look around, pay attention, be present in small moments and then go a step further and be grateful in them. Each day, I try to think about something in my life that is good, something I've learned, a conversation I've shared, a student I've helped. Some days, I am grumpy and begrudgingly approach the task of being grateful; other days, I'm so involved in the BS that I forget to take a breath and acknowledge anything wonderful. Being grateful is a practice, one I'm trying to make a habit of doing. So here are some things for which I am grateful:

I recently returned from an amazing road trip with M. Anyone you can spend so much time with while traveling, which in and of itself is stressful, is someone to be thankful for but to not only survive a vacation but actually have fun and feel like you're truly taking a break from your life and you're creating those experiences together, well that's someone to truly cherish. I've written before about how lucky I feel to have M as my person, the one I count on to tell me I'm full of it, the one who tells me that it's going to be okay, the one I turn to for celebrations and mourning. She makes my life more full and rich and interesting. I'm incredibly grateful for our relationship, for the work we do for one another, all the little things that show care and affection. I never want to take her for granted but I know that I sometimes do and I'm working on showing my appreciation more in little gestures.

When I wrote the letter to myself for reverb10, I focused on reminding myself I was happy and loved because there was a time in my life that I doubted I would be either. Actually, I was pretty much convinced I was not deserving of the depth and work of relationships, of true love, or happiness. It took a long time and a lot of therapy to admit I was capable of sharing myself or that I wanted to. I am grateful to my younger self as I explore in this letter to her. I'm especially grateful for the progress of my emotional life, for all the books, counselors, friends and bloggers who advised me through the difficult times even if they weren't aware of it.

I'm grateful for this week before classes start, a week in which I need to be more present and focused and work on all the final preparations before I step back into the classroom.

I'm grateful for the technology that allows me to stay in touch with my family; my mom just learned to text and I hope that this will be a way for us to communicate and remain close. I have rekindled a bond with her and I do not want to lose it.

I also love the iPad, which I wasn't even going to buy until I saw it in action, because it has helped me de-stress by reading, playing games and chatting with friends.

I'm also incredibly appreciative of the e-courses and online challenges/initiatives/movements I've taken and am currently taking. So far, I've done the following e-courses: Mondo Beyondo and MB Dream Lab, Tracey Clark's Picturing Summer and The Declaration of You all of which asked me to delve deep into where I've been and challenged me to create paths to where I want to go. I'm currently taking Ali Edwards' "One Little Word" Big Picture Class. I've also participated in Dian Reid's Self-Evidence + Authenticity challenge, the mindfulist, and #reverb10. I'm currently participating in #mindful52. These opportunities would not be possible without the technology that supports the endeavors of the very dedicated, creative forces who initiate the challenges/movements/whatever you want to call them. It is in the kind of participation these movements offer when I see how content and delivery work together to encourage creativity, growth, understanding, all the wonderful aspects of the best communities of people. All of the online courses and communities in which I've participated introduced me to amazing people and a vibrant and warm community of women who inspire me. And for that I'm incredibly grateful.

Never have I needed to feel a sense of belonging more. And I do. I feel it from fellow bloggers, wonderful colleagues, grad school friends, and friends I consider my family. My life is rich with wonderful people.

Words. I'm grateful that my parents helped me cultivate a love of language and of story. I'm grateful for the words I read that challenge and push me, urge me to do more, say more, be more... to live the life I have imagined (one of my favorite Thoreau quotes of all time). I'm also grateful for the words I write. I'm grateful to send out my thoughts and feelings into a space and a community where I feel, at the very least, heard.