"There’s always something to be thankful for," says writer Leah Dieterich, who expresses her daily gratitude at thxthxthx.com.
Like Leah, I love the thank you note.
At a young age, my mother taught me the value of expressing gratitude.
As an adult, the thank you notes expanded beyond appreciation for birthday or holiday gifts to include gratitude for a slice of sunshine, a good book, or a smile from a stranger.
I often send thank you notes as letters to those I love: As the sky hangs heavy, I'm thinking of you, how you stand bright against this gray . .
And just as often, I write to myself — in appreciation for all the people, places and feelings that make life deeper, kinder, brighter.
In the writing groups we compose Feel Good Pages. I think of it as an expansion of thankfulness, a chronicle of the parts of life that make us happy and grateful. Students sometimes groan a bit. They've been in school all day. They are tired, depleted and want to whine. And frankly, I do, too. I'm no Pollyanna. But the state of malaise is exactly why we need our Feel Good Pages — to elevate us from daily wear and tear, to remind us of our better selves.
So we write. And like a weak sun made bright with the parting of clouds, the mood in the room shifts and lifts. The more we recall and appreciate the feel good-ness of life, the more we really do feel good. After 10 to 15 minutes of writing, the children are bursting to share their pages. We are all smiles and giggles and light.
And really, isn't that the beauty of gratitude?