Thursday, January 1, 2009

Welcome to the Year of Gratitude

Thanks for coming to visit this new blog. It's an experiment in "public gratitude." I've written a few posts that I hope provide some context and perhaps start some thinking and some conversation.

Here's something I've noticed: when I am tuned in to what I'm thankful for, I am happier. There's a body of psychological research that suggests I'm not alone. This book by Robert Emmons lays out the case and I'll revisit it soon.

I notice that when I start to "count my blessings," I invariably start with things I have. There are lots of these blessings: I have a wonderful family, a beautiful and healthy daughter, a good job that pays well, many comforts, my own health, time to pursue some hobbies (notably fly fishing right now, for which I am enormously grateful!), and a lot of stuff to make my life convenient. I am fortunate to have these things and truly grateful for them.

What's beyond the frontier of "having," though? Obviously it's reasonably and wise (I think, anyway) to be grateful for what we have. But what about being grateful for who we are? Or simply grateful for what is? How do we get there? Is there any there, there?

For me the opportunity of this blog is the opportunity to be out of my comfort zone a bit, especially in terms of being public. I have been by nature a very private person. Throughout my life I have shared little of myself with acquaintances, colleagues, and even family members at times. While I don't know what moved me to say, "this year I will create more intimacy with the people close to me, and draw others into my circle," somehow I'm clear that I've made that connection. This blog is one piece of that effort.

I hope you'll join me. What are you thankful for in your life? How do you manifest that gratitude? What are your hopes for the new year?