The afternoon sun shines in through the windows of my home, filling it with a warm glow. The aromas of today’s Thanksgiving meal, lovingly prepared by my husband, waft through the house. My girls deliver a continuous happy chatter as they discuss the latest shenanigans of their stuffies. My parents and brother, all in good health, will be arriving soon. I have very much to be thankful for this Canadian Thanksgiving holiday.
And yet it is hard to not feel uneasy about the abundance of favour in my life currently when looking at the news of the world. From the multiple hurricanes this year, to the Mexico earthquakes, to the Las Vegas mass shooting, to a local family missing their husband and father, there are more than enough reminders about how others have their lives devastated in a moment. I cannot be so special as to be able to avoid catastrophe forever.
Thankfully I finished reading Daring Greatly by Brené Brown this week. I now know queasy feeling is me experiencing what she names “foreboding joy”:
In a culture of deep scarcity—of never feeling safe, certain, and sure enough—joy can feel like a setup…We’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop.
The antidote to foreboding joy, that emerged from Brené Brown’s research? Practicing gratitude. So let’s give it a go.
Things I Am Thankful For – 2017 Edition
- Having my husband arrive home safely each day. Who feeds our family so well with his mastery in the kitchen. And having such a relationship that we can
heatedly debateplayfully argue the semantics about whether the location of a friend, is “one car over” or “two cars over”.
- The continuing growing and thriving of my dear daughters. Even if this growing and thriving comes with a testing of wills and the emergence of hormones and brain changes.
- The inevitable careful negotiation and navigation of space by my family members while we host them to dinner in my small home…While it may be annoying, it means I still have a home, the resources to pull together a dinner, and healthy family members.
- Having the love and humour of a great group of friends who make equal effort to get together and have real life experiences together. You’ve helped push me to do some new things (e.g. public speaking at EtchTalk, playing bubble soccer) but also help establish some traditions that my family looks forward to again and again (e.g. travelling, group camping, Easter egg hunts, Halloween pumpkin carving, BBQs and potlucks)
- My membership in some group chats with friends near and far, where the conversations are full of humour, intellectual ideas, great advice, mutual support, and love.
- Finishing reading a spate of books recommended from trusted friends and colleagues that are really helping me make sense of how to navigate the world, and how to help raise my kids to navigate the world. These are:
- Daring Greatly, by Brené Brown
- Mindset-The New Psychology of Success, by Carol S. Dweck
- Fierce Conversations, by Susan Scott
- The continued success of both GrantBook, my workplace, and my contributions there. I’m proud of our non-traditional organizational culture and the amazing things we are accomplishing with our wholehearted approach. Even if this means sometimes things are awkward and murky, I’m thankful that we all embrace the uncertainty together.
- The joy I felt multiple times through the evening of watching Fall for Dance North Program 1. It’s probably been a while since i let my cynicism fully drop like it did that night.
I end with this poem from a Canadian poet I only just found out about, (Brampton native and U Waterloo grad!) Rupi Kaur.