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26 Simple Ways to Nurture Your Creative Life #12

Nit Wits #16 by Chris DunmireList What You're Thankful For

Listen. Intently. Silently. Thoughtfully.

I'm drawn to November's Thanksgiving Day holiday for its focus on perennial thanks giving in expressions of joy and gratitude for the abundance we have in our lives. It's one holiday that brings families together for a shared experience in togetherness around hearth and home, even if it does include family drama or overdone turkey!

Much has been written about gratitude throughout the centuries in both religious and secular contexts, and with a common theme: Gratitude is a positive attitude or emotion that benefits us greatly when it's employed. Being grateful is also a nurturing quality to our creative lives, in that it opens us up...in more ways than one.

M.J. Ryan, author of Attitudes of Gratitude: How to Give and Receive Joy Every Day of Your Life writes:

"Gratitude is not just the key. It's a magic key — all you need to do is use it, and the world is suddenly transformed into a beautiful wonderland, in which you are invited to play. That's because, like most of the great spiritual truths, gratitude is stunningly simple."

The "magic" of gratitude has a psychological component to it and complements how our brains are naturally wired. Ryan affirms this when she writes,

"One of the incredible truths about gratitude is that it is impossible to feel both the positive emotion of thankfulness and a negative emotion such as anger or fear at the same time. Gratitude births only positive feelings — love, compassion, joy, and hope. As we focus on what we are thankful for, fear, anger, and bitterness simply melt away, seemingly without effort."

In this light, it's easy to see how writing a Gratitude List and meditating on it can help some overcome negative thinking patterns or work through emotional discouragement. Focusing on what we are thankful for now in our lives fills us up with hope and strength to go forth, especially when we realize how many things we possess that can't be downsized by our employers, repossessed due to economic hardships, infected by viruses, sensationalized by the media, or vetoed by political means.

What intangible things or qualities might these be? I'll list three of mine.

Today I am thankful for:

  1. Love — I am thankful for my limitless capacity for giving and receiving the gift of love. Knowing I have an endless reservoir of love to share anytime I so desire with relatives, friends, and other members of the human family anywhere in the world fills me with awe, hope, and peace.

  2. Connection — I am thankful for the multiple ways I can connect with people, places, and things near and far in my world, and through these connections experience a multiplying of knowledge, wisdom, and compassion in my life and with fellow travelers. Connecting in person, through words, via various media, and even in my own heart expands potential and possibilities for the greater good of all.

  3. Creativity — I am thankful for my innate ability to be creative and for my enthusiastic desire to develop my skills in order to express myself. I am excited that creativity flows through so many mediums in that everyone can enjoy experiencing their own creative talents, not only for personal enrichment, but to share and co-create with others. Being creative validates my unique qualities, ideas, and existence in this space.

• • • Take Action Now! • • •

Write a short or long Gratitude List and note things you're thankful for right now. Focus on the intangible (incapable of being touched) things in your life such as love, creativity, compassion, wisdom, power, and experience. Listen to your inner self deeply, intently, silently, thoughtfully.

Write your gratitude list on a sheet of notebook paper or in your journal. Make it a blog post. Share it with your MySpace or Facebook friends. Digg it. Tweet it.

Feel free to make this lesson in thank-fullness fun by using my printable Thanksgiving Thankful 4 worksheets. Print some for the whole family to share with one another around the table at Thanksgiving time, even if the turkey is dry! •

© 2009 Chris Dunmire, CoachingYourCreativity.com. All rights reserved. (11/9/09)

Chris Dunmire is the founder of Creativity Portal®, a Web community dedicated to inspiring people desiring to reach deeper, more meaningful levels of creativity and artistic expression in their lives.

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