Grateful

Writing prompt: Start each sentence with I’m grateful and see what “auto populates” for you. Tips: look around your physical space. Start with A and go to Z.

Today I’m grateful for fresh starts, the first day of a new month, and shopping for the perfect (for me) calendar planner for 2023. I’m grateful for the joy of decluttering – out with the old to make space for the new, or just make more space. 

I’m grateful for my writing practice – to meet myself on the page with no rules other than to keep the pen moving. For me, writing is always the answer, no matter the question. The power of pen on paper is so strong that I often avoid it or procrastinate, knowing writing shines the light on truth, my truth, even when I’m not ready to look at it. 

I’m grateful when reminders to write show up unexpectedly. Recently it was this podcast: Cultivating Inner Strength – A Conversation with Tara Brach and Lori Deschene. They cover the benefits of writing by hand and much more. Lori is the founder of TinyBuddha.com, and her latest book is Tiny Buddha’s Inner Strength Journal: Creative Prompts and Challenges to Help You Get Through Anything. And, discovered on IG from adrienne maree brown and Sonya Renee Taylor: Journal of Radical Permission: A Daily Guide for Following Your Soul’s Calling.

I’m grateful for my favorite pens and journals with faint dots instead of lines. I’m grateful for technology making it possible for me to sit at my kitchen table and write by hand, then read aloud to my tablet, using voice typing in a google doc, so that later I can open the document in my computer at my desk for revising and editing. 

I’m grateful for my writing workshops and the women I’ve met – many keep in touch and some are my very close friends now. Twenty-five years ago, Christine Castenada, who only knew me from my local columns in Charleston, SC, called to say she was moving and needed someone to take over her memoir writing classes for Elderhostel (now Road Scholar). I was 29 and didn’t think I was qualified or that I would like it. I tried to connect her to others in town, but no one was a fit. She invited me to her office for what I thought would be a conversation between writers. Instead she opened the door with a file box in her arms and said, “Here, I’ll get the other one.” Twenty-five years later, I’m still not sure how I was suddenly driving home with a decade of her notes and lesson plans in two boxes, and commitment to lead three weeks of classes. But I do clearly remember her saying she was tired of it and moving into storytelling, ending with “You can have it all. It’s your turn.” 

I’m grateful to have learned that when the universe calls – pick up the phone! (It was 1997. We still had landline phones.) I’m grateful for how the classes naturally grew into Write Your Life as a Woman workshops. I’m grateful I loved leading workshops – holding space for women to connect with others and go deep in conversation with themselves. 

I’m grateful for a sunny, warm November day, and Goldie, my rescue dog, stretched out on the floor, dramatically lit by a sunbeam, waiting for me to take her on a walk.

And, as always, I’m grateful to have written. 

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