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Gratitude journals are a tool used in many disciplines. Psychologists prescribe them to combat depression. Writing and creativity coaches encourage them as inspiration. Religious leaders recommend them as a way to focus on the blessings in our lives.  There is even a Wikipedia entry on gratitude journals, and for those who want a special place to write, you can buy hardbound volumes or download an app.

I first became exposed to focusing on what I am grateful for in my life through The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron. One of the exercises she suggests for readers who want to explore their creativity is to make a gratitude list. In Vein of Gold, she  recommends a weekly gratitude walk — a time alone to focus on your blessings.

As we approach Thanksgiving 2012, here are some of the things I am grateful for:

  1. Life and good health. An acquaintance died suddenly last week, reminding me to live each day as best I can.
  2. My fine family, full of good people with only minor foibles and quirks. They make my life worth living.
  3. A comfortable home and enough money to avoid most financial worries.
  4. Friends that keep me from being lonely, people who touch my life as I touch theirs.
  5. The support of colleagues and mentors over the course of my careers – as a lawyer and mediator, as a Human Resources director, and as a writer. You know who you are, and you have given me a sense of community and belonging.
  6. Books. Sometimes they let me escape from reality, and other times they let me  enter another’s reality.
  7. A pastor whose homilies challenge my complacency and keep me humble.
  8. The Internet that brings the world’s knowledge to my fingertips, and devices that let me take that knowledge anywhere.
  9. The beauty and ferocity of nature. Oceans and sunshine and mountains and forest remind me of my insignificance and that of my worries. There is a power in this universe which I cannot control.
  10. Babies. Each one is a new hope for the world.

This list is certainly not exhaustive, nor even in order of importance. Simply the things that came to mind this morning as I wrote in my journal.

What is on your gratitude list this Thanksgiving?

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