Sundays are for Poetry
Practicing Gratitude: Acknowledging

Practicing Gratitude: Noticing


I've been intentionally focusing on gratitude for many years.  

It started when I was in the middle of chemo . . . when I didn't feel terribly good and the days seemed really long and I worried about my future and felt like I had lost my center.

I started keeping a list of all the things in my day that were good; things that connected me to myself -- and the world around me.

It helped.

I kept doing it.

It turns out that one of the easiest "first steps" in developing a gratitude practice is . . . noticing.  Simply noticing and acknowledging the things in our lives that we are grateful for can foster feelings of contentment and joy, respect for what we have, and connection to the world around us.


I know that intentionally noticing and acknowledging things we're grateful for each day is powerful because it's kind of like . . . a vicious circle.  The more we notice the good things in our lives, the more we are able to notice the good things in our lives.  Y'know?  And that creates an ever-expanding circle of good.

The things we list don't have to be the big things (although that's often where we start) -- like family and housing and health and jobs.  They can also be little things we just . . . notice . . . when we start paying attention.  Bird song.  The scent of hand lotion.  The flow-y way my pen writes.  The fact that I hit a green light just when I needed it most.

I decided to try a new approach to my gratitude list-making this month -- building on that "vicious circle" analogy.

I grabbed a piece of illustration board, and starting with a heart, I drew some outwardly-expanding lines.  Each day, I write down my gratitude list for the day within the lines.  Now, I'm starting to use my watercolor pencils and a waterbrush to bring color to my list.


Acknowledging my gratitude makes me feel good.  I share my good-feelings with people around me.  And then they feel good.  And they share their good-feelings with the people around them.

Start a list.

Let's spread gratitude's good-feelings all around.



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That is a big, ever-growing circle (and it doesn't look vicious at all)! I really love how you've incorporated art and color into your beautiful list. You may need a bigger board! :-)


This is a wonderful idea and I love the visual you are creating. Thanks for sharing this idea.


Oh, I love this!! What a wonderful art piece this will be!!


I love the idea of turning a gratitude list into a piece of art. It would be fun to color in all through the month. This might be a great way to get myself through December and January! Turning the vicious circle of dark and drear into warm and bright sounds good to me!


What a great idea - I love that yours is so big and full!


What a wonderful idea! I've never been very consistent with my gratitude lists, but making it into art might be the very thing to cause me to be more attentive to all the good that I tend to overlook.


I love your gratitude list approach this season! I journal (a lot) but not specifically about gratitude. Last week, though, I decided to list 3 things every day until Thanksgiving. It's been interesting and I think I'd like to find a way to keep it going. It might mean getting another journal, though.


This is such a beautiful idea, and exactly the message I needed to hear today. I’m going to start my gratitude journal today (though I don’t think it will be as lovely as yours). Thank you!


Love this. Your circle is definitely NOT vicious, but rather lovely. This reminds me of when my best friend was going through chemo and we used to think of things to be thankful for (no need to buy shampoo or cream rinse, for example), and then we would break into laughter (the best medicine). I'm going to send her a link to this. Thanks for sharing!


This is so wonderful Kym! I may have to just start writing things down. Like today...I got a new friend. That's really something to be grateful for!


Oh Kym - this is beautiful! (and meaningful). I hope you'll share at month-end, too - I'd love to see the watercolors!


A Circle is a fabulous idea. Invites meditation. Like a labyrinth. Only closer at hand. And with SO-O many applications. Thank you, Kym!


I read this post early this week and for whatever reason, set my "comments" aside to share later...I love the possibilities that the circle has- ever expanding, radiating from the heart, growing, the ripples in a lake or pond...and I think that what is most inviting is that expressing gratitude on a daily basis, as in this manner, is so, so doable! Color, Line, Shape, Word, Heartbeats...
Thanks to you!


This is a beautiful idea! Thank you for sharing! It is just genius!

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