Gratitude (Season of Self-Care: 8)

Gratitude. Overdone? I don’t think so.

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Each year, just before Thanksgiving, we pick some nice-looking branches, tie them together, and place the bundle in a vase or mason jar. The boy-o makes leaf shapes out of cardstock, which are piled up in a bowl with some pens. Whenever we’re inspired to write down something we’re grateful for, we do so, and hang it on the “tree.”

Typically, it’s stayed around for a week or two, but this year we decided to make a much larger version and keep it out through Solstice. Maybe it’s because life feels generally more strained and stressful this year, and reminding ourselves of the gifts we hold and treasure is the strongest glue we can use to keep our cracked vessel half full, at least.

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It tends to fill up mostly with the people and creatures we love, with activities we like to do together, with things in our life that cast light on darkness (like a borrowed splitter that will provide us with enough wood from the back 5 to keep the fire burning through the other side of winter). I am especially fond, obviously, of the things that come to my son’s mind, like being thankful for his own abilities and the privilege of being able to spend time enjoying them:

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I never think to actually be grateful for me, and what I can do, provide, and share with my family, with the world. Huh.

I learn so much from him.

Self-love is self-care. Own it. Be grateful for it.

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