In the early 80s, I started an event I dubbed The Annual Hassle-Free Event. It’s no longer annual or face-to-face, but I try to keep it going because it makes me so happy.
We’d get together Thanksgiving morning, before you had to cook a dinner you were allergic to, face in-laws who couldn’t remember your name, and deal with other social absurdities. No one brought food or drink to the Annual Hassle-Free Event. It was truly hassle-free, a momentary oasis of quiet simplicity amidst Thanksgiving nuttiness. In fact, it only lasted 45 minutes—anything longer would have been a hassle, because Tday is always so busy. (Nowadays folks couldn’t fit in 45 minutes, but that is a whole other story. And good thing I’m doing this online—it’ll only take you a minute.)
We’d just sit down in a circle, and each of us would list some things we were grateful for. That was it, the full event. If you didn’t want to list anything, that was okay too! You could just listen or comment.
I have spiritual practices, both simple and elaborate, that put me into deep deep deep altered states and give me profound peace, transformation, and satiation. I have yet to understand why my unsophisticated somewhat-annual event impacts me in ways that those other practices do not (though they impact me in other, equally important, ways.) All I know is, this event really shifts my whole being, every time!
I also know gratitude lists are a cliché, especially at Thanksgiving, but they’re part of my daily practice. And taking a moment on or around Tday to make my list and hear others’ centers me into what is important, and stops me from being carried away by holiday stupidity!
Here is my list of things for which I am grateful:
* I’m grateful to be able to draw and paint. For one thing, after I write a maxim, I love adding visual elements to it! I like integrating my visual art with the rest of my life. Speaking of which, if you’re looking for pics of my artwork, I’ve only a few out and out gallery posts, but browse my blog to see lots of my art.
* I am still grateful for my Etsy shop, because it is a way for this housebound crip to connect with people everywhere. My body is stuck here, but my spirit travels. My far-flung students and readers also allow me this gift!
* I am grateful for my community, it has the best people, they rock!
* I am grateful to be alive, I should have died many times, it is a miracle I am still here.
* I can still be of service, despite a body that a physician said would keep most people in bed for the rest of their lives doing nada.
* I refused pain meds, three times. I am not anti-pain meds, I just don’t want them, because I push so hard despite pain that, if I did the meds, I’d never ever stop til I died.
* I am so grateful that Share My Insanity was published this year!
* I am grateful for my publisher Linda Roghaar (White River Press). She was the only publisher who understood what I was doing in Share My Insanity.
* She has also been immensely encouraging. Amidst the din of digital noise that drowns out many voices, my efforts to get word out that the book exists are often frustrating, but she does great pep talks!
* I am grateful to everyone who has helped me get word out or otherwise supported Share My Insanity. The support has often reduced me to happy tears!
* I am grateful for my sense of humor, it may me through the holidays!
* I am thankful for my cat Teenie who is a great sage.
* I am thankful for a roof over my head, food in my fridge, and the selfless volunteers who wash my dishes and do the other things my maimed body will not.
* I am grateful for the most amazing friends and all my fellow travelers, everyone on the Toad’s Wild Ride that is life!
Please participate in the Annual Hassle-Free Event. It would thrill me! Just list one or many things for which you are grateful. Or otherwise leave a comment! And if all you do is read, thanks so much!