The 2011 Annual Hassle-Free Thanksgiving Event

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.

Silk Painting, Francesca De Grandis

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!

Faerie Geometry, Francesca De Grandis

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!

In the Moment Silk Painting Picture-Poem, Francesca De Grandis

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!

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17 Responses to The 2011 Annual Hassle-Free Thanksgiving Event

  1. Kathleen says:

    I am grateful for my family, many of whom are with me this holiday! It cheers and warms me to spend time with them in my home and to cook for them.

    I am grateful for my friends who support me in being creative and buy my stuff, when I’d be as happy to give it away. (who could that be?)

    I am grateful for a job that feeds me physically and emotionally.

    I am grateful for a husband who has loved me through thick and thin (literally) for the last 20 years.

    I am grateful for my talents and for the ability to practice them.

    I am grateful for my home and my animal family.

    I am grateful for so much more, but I’ll stop there. There’s cooking to do!

    • francesca says:

      Oh, Kathleen, thank you for posting yr list! It means the world to me that you wld take time to do that. I am blessed that, after all these years, we are still sharing holidays, especially now that e are so far apart geographically. 20 years now since u married, omg, time flies. As to supporting yr art, u r one of the best artists I hav ever met, it has been a privilege to support it. I know what u mean about ending the list before it was done, I felt the same way. But you are on my above list in at least three categories, LOL! Love u, f

  2. Dyhana says:

    I am grateful for my family and how well we keep intouch in spite of the distance.
    I am grateful for making some really wonderful friends this year. I am also grateful to find some really great organizations that support my interests.
    I’m grateful to have come across the Goddess Initiation and am so happy to be working my way through it with the group on Herstory. I also love seeing your work, Francesca, the paintings and writings. I’m grateful you have me in the Alethea group. I’m grateful to be reading Share My Insanity as well, you’re a big part of my life right now!
    I’m grateful that my health is so much better this year.
    I am grateful for ease with which knowledge is available in this time.
    I am grateful for the opportunity to live this life.

    • francesca says:

      And I am grateful you took the time to share your thoughts! And I am grateful for your above praise of my books, my Alethea group, and my art, it is so encouraging, u r too kind!

  3. Julia Swancy says:

    A quirky few from me:
    I am grateful for activated charcoal.
    I am grateful for my working car and the fuel in it.
    I am grateful for the ridiculous distractions of the internet getting me through anxious moments and too-long nursing sessions.
    I am grateful this year isn’t last year! lol!

    Now to convince the toddler there is something around here better than nursies…

    Julia

    • francesca says:

      Wow, that does not seem quirky at all! LOL, if someone is not grateful for a car, I would worry about them! Thanks bunches, honey, for playing the gratitude game with me, I love this!

  4. Ellen says:

    I had a profound gratitude realization during the closing meditation in my yoga class the other day… The first instruction was to be in the moment. The moment ended up being a very sharp, sad, painful emotion of how intensely I DID NOT WANT to be working retail on Black Friday. I allowed myself to really WALLOW in that feeling for a few moments instead of continuing to attempt to distance myself from it, which turns out had been only INCREASING my anxiety anyway.

    The next instruction of the guided meditation was to identify something in my life I am truly grateful for… and I was AMAZED!!! Turns out the thing I was most grateful for in that moment is that I am now EMOTIONALLY ABLE to handle working Black Friday even though I DIDN’T WANT TO!!! From deep Sorrow to ecstatic Joy over the course of a few breaths.

    So… I am grateful for the painful things that hold a mirror up to my face so I can recognize my own strengths :)

  5. I’m grateful to have Francesca, who is a river to her people, as a friend.

    • francesca says:

      Oh, Michael, that is lovely! Thank you. It is nice to be in touch with you and Elizabeth lateley! Pls give her my best.

  6. Francesca De Grandis says:

    I posted this blog in 2011 but I try to repeat the event any years I can. Below is my 2013 gratitude list. I invite you to add yours.

    2013 Gratitude List

    * I am grateful for my friends, Old and new, and the love that I feel from them, and the opportunities they give me to love them.
    * I am grateful for my cat, my roommate and the being that I spend most of my time with. She teaches me a lot, distracts me from my work (which is good), is constantly making me laugh, and loves to be loved.
    *I am grateful for the roof over my head, and the refrigerator full of organic food.
    *I am grateful that, despite all my disabilities, I can manage work part time, because I love my work and because it connects me with wonderful people.
    * I am glad that I became a visual artist a few years ago because it’s satisfying, and it gives my wheelchair wings.
    * I am grateful that becoming seriously crippled did not make me bitter but instead taught me to cleave to my gods more than ever and taught me compassion. (Mind you, I can take no credit for not becoming bitter. I believe that was a gift given me by the gods. They gave me the willingness to use the spiritual tools needed to be at peace.)
    * I’m grateful that there are too many things to put on a list.

  7. Sandy Austin says:

    ok Francesca, I am grateful for
    1. the Love of an Honest Man
    2. True Friends (like you!)
    3. Getting what I really need when I need it
    4. All the Music and Musicians in my life
    these are what come to mind first, of course there is a lot more I am grateful for…every minute of everyday.
    Love

    • Francesca De Grandis says:

      Sandy, thank you so much for posting that. The Annual Hassle-Free Thanksgiving Event does me a world of good. So, if no one but you and I post, you did me a service for which I am grateful. I’m also touched by being on your list—I am grateful for you too—and touched by yr choices of what you expressed gratitude for. Love you.

  8. Chelo Alfonso says:

    Ah Francesca…Thanks for that post…I know grattitude is something that if done daily is more fruitful…Some days though I just strech in my bed first thing in the morning and i mutter…ohhh thanks for that strech!!!and now…what else???
    I’m thankful for my doggies, Cinnamon and Fuffy…the crazy rascals keep me going between walkies and belly rubs.
    I’m thankful for my Kali..my kitty that passed only a couple of weeks back and hope is having a ball with your Teenie, Lady Olivia, and Lou Reed…(among other magickal creatures in the Summerland)
    I’m grateful for my sorrow withouth which I couldn’t feel empathy nor joy.
    I’m grateful I’m creative, spirited, determined and above it all resilient.
    I’m grateful for my clownyness that stumbles somehow sacredly upon the truth of the matter(thus dismantling many pompous schemes of false power and control, both from myself and others)and gives me a chuckle.
    I’m thankful for a good few special friends…both here and in spirit/energy form.
    And for the sea, the moon, the starry heavens, the animals and the plants as well as all that sustains my soul…and a cupa coffee and dark chocolate
    Oh dear! I didnt suspect there were so many things!
    Grateful I have come to know you this year Faery Lady…Big Blessing from the Emerald Isle

  9. Meaux says:

    Thankful to have two jobs I love. Thankful for my friends and family. Thankful for my health, including a strong body that finished its first race this morning. Thankful for opportunities, chances, and failures.

    I am thankful for you. xoxo

    • Francesca De Grandis says:

      Meaux, I am thankful for you and for your sharing this gratitude post with me. Congrats on the race!!! Love you.

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