Friday, November 30, 2007

NaBloPoMo Gratitude #30

Gratitude for the Posts on Gratitude

Thirty days ago today I started NaBloPoMo. It was sort of a whim. I decided to do my daily posts on gratitude, also on a whim, since I thought my chances of actually writing something every day would be better if I had a theme. As it was November and Thanksgiving and all, gratitude seemed like a reasonable choice. And that turned out to be one of those things, as Ruby from the Blue Window blog said once, to be something that I said yes to that has changed my life without having ever thought much about it.

Because, as I come to the end of these thirty days, much to my surprise, I do find myself changed in some rather significant ways by this experience. Changed by this simple act of looking for the good things, the things in each day for which I could indeed be grateful, the things which blessed me, the things which gladdened my heart, lifted my spirit and warmed my soul.

Shortly before Thanksgiving I started thinking about writing something to sum up what the experience of the gratitude posts has been like for me. What came to my mind was the movie Pollyanna. I started thinking about the theme of that movie, that transformation can come of looking for the good in people and circumstances, from what Pollyanna called her “Glad Game.” And in the synchronous way of these things, which totally delights but no longer even really surprises me, there on Thanksgiving Eve, what should appear in Diane's beautiful sermon, but that very Pollyanna story! I sat stunned and in tears reading that sermon. Once again, something to be grateful for! I first encountered Pollyanna at about age ten. And even then, sitting in that dark Catholic school gym, I think I knew she was onto something. Something perhaps I could not articulate, but a concept that was formative and important for me. Something that now I would describe as some of the spiritual teachers do; that being, where you place your attention, your heart will be also. Something that my head has known for a long time perhaps, but that NaBloPoMo Gratitude #'s 1-29 have taught my heart and soul as well.

Early in the month of NaBloPoMo Gratitude posts, there were those nights when I sat paralyzed in front of the laptop thinking “Now what am I going to post tonight? What is it today I am grateful for?” But inevitably, sometimes slowly, something would come welling up, and I would know, “Yes, yes, this thing, this small piece of my life, today I am blessed by this, today I am grateful for this, I truly am.” And as the days passed, I started realizing something rather amazing. I noticed that I started looking at life in a new way…. That more and more my attention began dwelling in a new place. I became conscious that I was focusing on the good in the circumstances and people of my life. That was actually becoming more grateful, and more joyful, and more compassionate, and more open to those little moments of wonder. I felt myself blessed. I felt myself beloved of God. And I found myself being more loving, acting in more compassionate and generous ways.

Over these thirty days this has gone from merely blog posting to spiritual practice to a circle of gratitude. Giving and receiving, receiving and giving. And all because of a simple whim. Or grace. I’m going with grace. Thanks be to God.

7 comments:

Kathryn said...

It has been a joy to read your explorations of gratitude...very Ignatian (review of the day) in approach...and an effective jolt for those of us who might have grumbled our way on line and off again.
I never saw the film of Pollyanna, but the book made me feel slightly nauseous once I had passed my 10th birthday - your blogs of gratitude, in contrast, have made me feel happy and grateful myself.
Not least because I know you.
Happy St Andrew's day, my friend :-) x

mompriest said...

My mother used to call me "A Pollyanna"...and not in the best of ways...she often thought I was too optimistic...but even then I knew she was wrong. I knew that trying to find the good in my life, when there really wasn't much good, was a way to survive and be hopeful. For years I have not mentioned to any one what my mother said to me...and now it has come up twice. So. yes. a grace for me as well. Especially as I sit on this side of the spiritual discipline about to embark on that journey. And not just for my personal blog, but for the church as well. I suppose I will write the same thing for both blogs, on occasion. But I will also write seperate things, since the parish will read (hopefully) the church blog, but not mine...

anyway...yes...thank you for the inspiration to do this...

Jan said...

Thank you for continuing and somehow "completing" your month of gratitudes. Reading of your reactions and growth reminds me so much of David Steindl-Rast's book, "Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer." You've demonstrated that for us. I am grateful for you.

"PS" (a.k.a. purple) said...

It seems to me that you were present to the present time in a very open hearted way.

RevDrKate said...

It occurs to me that a very important part of this process was the circle of witnesses. I think that is something I want to think about further re: blog-journaling, this reflecting in front of others phenomenon that seems quite unique and powerful. Thank you all for being part of this month with me! I have treasured your comments.

Mother Laura said...

Pollyanna isn't my favorite either but I have absolutely loved your gratitude posts, and will miss them now that December is here.

I'm thinking I will join Mompriest in trying them as an Advent practice starting tonight. So thank you for sharing yourself with us, and thanks to you and MP for the inspiration to try it myself.

Katherine E. said...

I, too, am going to follow your example, Kate, and will begin blogging my gratitude during December and Advent.

Growing up, I always loved Haley Mills, and reading and Diane inspired me to order the movie, Pollyanna. Strangely, I could't find it on Amazon, but I found it elsewhere on the web. I can't wait to watch it again soon.