Gratitude comes in layers. I’ve written about that before, about how there’s the thankfulness for things, and then the deep thankfulness that is (in my opinion) actually our natural state. For me, the form of gratitude that feels most glorious is the kind that comes from opening to life just as it is, that comes from letting go of old unhelpful habits or beliefs. It’s the kind of gratitude that doesn’t need any remembering even, because it just flows through you. It’s not something to grasp or hold, but just to allow. Trying to grasp it, in fact, generally makes it diminish or even disappear. (This is bound to be the case, because if we hold anything tightly enough, we get tension!)
And yet, sometimes the thankfulness that flows through me is for things. So my first Ten Things of Thankful post in several weeks starts with some thanks for things.
First though, a photo, taken outside my mum’s house around 10.30 on an evening in early July.
Look carefully at the photo above and you’ll see that to the right of the first rainbow, there’s a second one. And it is sunset! Life comes in layers too, it seems. This was just astonishing to see, and though I’m sure you’ll find the photo amazing, it cannot fully convey the exquisiteness of the evening. It was all the more joyful for sharing it with my mother and daughters.
Work-wise, I have a ton of stuff to feel thankful for. I’ve been away a lot over the summer. We hopped home for a few days in between visiting my family and heading off to my husband’s family. And then, I went to visit a friend to work on an exciting new writing project that we’ll soon be launching. I’m very excited about that, and will reveal all very soon. (Possibly even next week.)
While we were away, I was utterly over the moon to get an essay accepted for an anthology. Several bloggers I know will also be in it, so that makes it even more exciting. Publication is a while away yet, so that’s all I’m saying for now.
There’s been more acceptance – this time from Project Underblog, who will be publishing a revised version of the post Thankful For a Loss, which I wrote back in March for this here Ten Things of Thankful hop! At the risk of sounding like a Hollywood starlet, I am going to say that without so many people, I would not have had that article accepted. First, of course, there’s Lizzi, who both started this hop and inspired that particular post with a post she wrote for Mother’s Day. Then there’s Susan, who is soon to launch Beyond Your Blog, a service for bloggers that assesses your blog posts for suitability for submission to other sites. I tested out her service while it was in beta mode, and felt incredibly encouraged by her observations about my blog and her suggestions for where I should submit. It was on her advice that I submitted Thankful For a Loss to Project Underblog – and she was spot on! I shall be following up her other suggestions very soon! So I’m thankful for all that support.
Actually, now I’ve written about a few things, what I’m noticing is that they aren’t so much things at all as connections. I am so thankful connect with these people – working on the project with my friend makes it feel easier for both of us. Being in an anthology with several bloggers I know gives a sense of inclusion that I haven’t felt the times I’ve has short stories in anthologies. The sense of support I felt from Susan’s blog analysis and suggestions is part of what encouraged me to submit to Project Underblog. And then their tweet – well here it is! Aren’t they just lovely?!
@Yvonne__Spence just scheduled your post for August 14th. Such a beautiful piece! Thank you for submitting!!
— Project Underblog (@ProjUnderBlog) August 2, 2014
So when I started writing this post, I had no idea what its title would be. Now I do! I’m thankful for connections.
Last night, in a Facebook blogging group someone suggested we share StumbleUpon profiles. I’ve had a StumbeUpon account for a while, but didn’t understand it, and couldn’t be bothered to try. Still, last night, I joined in with the others, and soon found loads of really interesting stuff – some funny, some deep, some informative. The whole exercise also had a lovely feel to it, of people helping each other out. So once again, it’s that feeling of connection. I was also really pleased that one of my posts got as many views in a day as it’s had in the week it’s been up. That post is about an issue I feel is important. It’s about how our culture is one where judgement is so utterly common most people don’t notice they are doing it, it’s about how we elevate people to celebrity status and then tear them down. It’s about why when a celebrity dies of an overdose, I think we should care. If you haven’t read it yet, please do. And if you agree with me, please share it! I am thankful in advance!
In that post I share my dream that we can create a culture that is based not on blame and shame, but on compassion and support. The truth is that it feels so much nicer to feel compassion than it does to judge.
To read more thankful posts, or to join in the hop, click the link below: