One of my wildly improbable long-term goals is to win the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. Given that, up to now, I’ve only written plays, I have some work to do before I’ll be able to cross this one off my to-do list. However, I already have the important part down pat: the thank-yous. After repeat observations of past winners, I’ve mentally composed an acceptance speech that properly acknowledges all the people who helped me succeed as a writer, yet remains short enough that I’m not politely forced offstage. Really, after hammering that out, finishing a brilliant screenplay itself should be a piece of cake.
John Kralik would probably approve of my priorities. His own gratitude journey, as detailed in the book 365 Thank-Yous, describes how Kralik devoted a year to consciously giving thanks by writing one note every day to someone who had been influential to him. Brought to such a pass by desperation rather than inspiration, Kralik stumbled upon the idea for the practice during a walk in the woods, and stuck with it despite business difficulties, financial problems, and relationship struggles. Mindfully practicing gratitude didn’t magically transform Kralik’s life into a sunny vista of unicorns and rainbows, but, more often than not, writing and sending the notes re-opened long-closed lines of communication and opened up new opportunities and adventures for him, which convinced him to make some changes to his attitude and lifestyle.
Reading Kralik’s book has inspired some of the library staff to start a similar project and see what happens. I’m looking forward to making a trip downtown to Weldin’s to treat myself to some pretty notecards, but I will probably also make a fair number of them by hand as well. I’m brushing up on the art of writing letters, and mentally making my list of people who have changed my life for the better; the list is already fairly long, and includes family, friends, teachers and — no surprise here — librarians.
Other library titles on the practice of gratitude include:
- Living Life as a Thank You: The Transformative Power of Daily Gratitude, Nina Lesowitz.
- The Gift of Thanks: The Roots and Rituals of Gratitude, Margaret Visser.
- Focus on the Good Stuff: The Power of Appreciation, Mike Robbins.
- An Attitude of Gratitude, Keith Harrell.
- I Am Grateful: Recipes and Lifestyle of Cafe Gratitude, Terces Engelhart.
Serendipitously, while writing this, I received a thank you note in library mail from a co-worker. That was really sweet, entirely unexpected, and definitely day-making! What are you most thankful for right now? How could you best express it? Whose day could you brighten just by being there?
thirty-eight years young today, appreciating every second