Monday, November 2, 2009

Things I'm Grateful For

One of my favorite nonfiction writers, Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love) suggests that people make a list of at least three things they're grateful for before they go to bed.

To handle my lonely moments, or the times I'm feeling frustrated or homesick, I've developed a new habit of gratitude, inspired a bit by Gilbert's idea. Whenever I'm in a bad space, I try to think of as many positive things as possible that I'm grateful for to change my state of mind. I'll just sit there now--while I'm waiting for the bus in the rain, when I'm at home and feeling sad---and list the things I'm grateful for. I try to do it every night before bed as well, in my journal. Even if it doesn't always change my mood, it definitely changes my perspective.

Since this is a part of my life here in Turkey, I wanted to share today's list. So, here you go. I'm grateful for:

  • My dad and my brothers, whom I feel so much love for and admire and adore so much.
  • My friends and family (both in Turkey and all over the world) who have been such a huge support for me, helping me feel strong while I'm out here taking risks and experiencing the world.
  • Guido, who has been a huge emotional support, friend, spiritual guide, and joy.
  • The incredible community of my colleagues who look out for me, invite me to dinner, push their English skills to the max to converse with me, and treat me with such immense hospitality.
  • My students--I could go on and on about them. They're the most incredible students ever--so loving, so respectful, so funny, so intelligent, so strong.
  • My novel--I started what I hope is my final revision of it, and I am so happy with the changes I'm making and that I'm following through on my commitment to completing it. It's such a nice creative outlet for me as well.
  • The short-film club I'll be starting tomorrow (kick-off meeting at 4pm)! I am nervous and so excited at the same time. My students will be writing scripts, filming short films, editing them, and then having a fim festival in the spring. Woo hoo!
  • The Shakespeare Film club I started where we watch his plays on film--I have just fallen in love with Shakespeare and his timeless, moving stories all over again. So brilliant. So powerful. What a writer.
  • This opportunity to be here in Turkey and do things as an college instructor that I never would have been able to do back home. It pays well, and I love my organization. I'm so blessed.
  • Little things like the scent of orange peels and of fall, pumpkins, warm soup, drinking tea on a cloudy day, reading a great novel, dried apricots, dark chocolate, dried autumn leaves, awesome six-year-olds that teach me Turkish and draw me pictures... (specifically Aras, my new friend pictured above).
  • The challenges I face that make me stronger every day--they humble me, teach me, and make me full of gratitude that my challenges are so small compared to so many people in the world.

    What are you grateful for? I'd love to know. Hugs to all!

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