Monday, 12 December 2011

One Month of Gratitude

So, at the beginning of November, Melanie Minnaar - an in- and out-of-computer friend and fellow St David's mom, suggested that November be a month of gratitude, and that people should post up something on Facebook for which they are grateful each day of the month. 

Sounds easy, right - particularly when you are so blessed and so lucky in so many ways? So I decided to take it on, hoping for more success than my attempt at 29 Gifts a year or two back. 

I made it through the month, and posted something up every day. There were a couple of weekend days that I didn't post, but then I double posted in the days after to make up for it, so during November, I listed 30 things for which I am grateful. I really wanted to stay away from twee things like being grateful for chocolate (although, eventually I did concede that that is truly something to be grateful for!). 

I learned a lot from this whole exercise, over and above the fact that I have so much to be so very grateful for. Quite a lot happened in the background during this month, and I'll admit that one or two posts had subtexts (I'm not going to say which ones though!) 

It was a big month in news and politics - there was the drama about the Protection of Information Bill, and there was much ado about Julius Malema... and a few other bits and pieces including a horrific animal abuse case - some of which really taxed my glass-half-full view on life. It's still intact though. I think... :-) 

But the overall result was that I emerged from November with none of the burden of anger that I'd had on entering the month. I emerged calm, peaceful and positive. I emerged from November proud of who I am and what I have achieved. I emerged from November with a new realisation about how extremely blessed I am, and with a renewed determination to protect and nurture my blessings. 

There were a few people who supported me the whole month, 'liking' my posts each day or commenting on them - thanks so much Shelli, Sandi, my mom, Dori, Tanya and Cath (who is an in-computer friend I've yet to meet...) - some of them even started posting daily too. Cath sits down every night and writes down three things for which she was grateful each day - a commitment I truly admire. 

Here's the list, if you missed it... 

1 I am grateful for my parents and the solid foundations they gave me

2 I am grateful for my wonderful husband Brett Haggard who loves me so very much, in so many ways.

3 I am grateful for my two amazing, astounding boys, who teach me new things every day.

4 I am grateful to have the freedom to speak my mind.

 5 I am grateful for our warm home and our beautiful and bountiful garden

6 I am grateful for the diverse friends I have now and have had in the past, and for the lessons I have learned from them and with them.

7 I am grateful that I have skills that I can use to earn a living.

 8 I am grateful for the support structures I have - it does indeed take a village to raise your children, and I am blessed to have my own village of support.

9  I am grateful for free and easy access to information and knowledge.

10 I am grateful for music, and how it can lift my mood in a bad moment, bring me joy, or make me remember a time or place or person with such clarity

11 I am grateful for the mentors I have had in my working life - I use the lessons I learned from them every day. I even use the lessons I learned from the Anti-Mentor I worked for way back when... everything and everyone for a reason, see?

12  I am grateful for my health, and the health of my family. With a grandmother of 95, longevity is in the family - let's hope that good health lasts!

13 I am grateful for the connectedness that social media enables. I am also grateful that I can switch it off from time to time (which is why I didn't post yesterday... :-)

14 I am grateful for peaceful, solitary moments, in which I can appreciate the joy of the loud, busy chaotic ones...

15 I am grateful for peaceful, solitary moments, in which I can appreciate the joy of the loud, busy chaotic ones...

16 I am grateful for South Africa. Even though it's a mighty complicated place to be, it's still home. And there simply is no place like home...

17 I am grateful for the people in my life who encourage and inspire me to be a better person.

18 I am grateful for all the literature I've read: the good, the bad and the ugly! I've read books that have made me laugh, that have made me cry, and that have provoked thought.

19 I'm grateful for my hounds who shadow me wherever I go. When I'm not home, they shadow my boys to make sure they're safe.

20 I am grateful for friends who still so close, even though they live so very far away.

21 I am grateful for my sense of humour. Even if it is sometimes a bit offsides...

22 I am grateful for free access to information, and I hope to be able to be grateful for that after today. #BlackTuesday

23 I'm grateful for life's little pleasures, including (and most certainly not limited to) chocolate, coffee, nougat, macarons, chocolate brownies, florentines, tender roast lamb, parma ham and mangoes.

24 I am grateful for the disciplines that this year has taught me.

25 I'm grateful that I'm past all the complicated social stuff that makes high school such a challenging time for everyone who's not a 'cool kid'.

26 I am grateful that my boys have the opportunity to try different sports and activities, to give them the chance to grow in different ways.

27 I am grateful for the honesty that there is between me and Brett Haggard, on every level.

28 I am grateful that I am in a position to provide employment to my housekeeper and gardener, and for how they make my lifestyle possible too.

29 I'm grateful for the people who put things in perspective for me, when I get worked up about something

30 I am grateful to Melanie Minnaar for suggesting the #OneMonthOfGratitude, and to everyone who 'liked' what I did, along the way, especially Tamarai Shantala Lekha Olckers, Dori van Loggerenbergand Catherine Jenkin. It's been an interesting exercise - apart from making me realise just how blessed I am, it's also changed my approach to a few things.