“It is gratefulness which makes the soul great.”
– Abraham Joshua Heschel

I almost decided to skip Creative Friday today and posting all together. But I couldn’t pass up the chance to write something on November 11, 2011 {11/11/11}. And with Veterans Day being today and Thanksgiving just around the corner, I thought it’d be best to focus on what we have to be grateful for.

So here is my top 11 list of things anyone (especially me) can be grateful for:

1. Paths that could lead to anywhere. The whole point of life is to walk toward the unknown. We make decisions, we take steps, we live our life outside of comfort zone without any guarantees, without any knowledge of where we’ll end up, and that is both the beauty and mystery of life itself.

2. Unsupportive people. Maybe your father never believed in you or your aunt scowled at you whenever you talked about a dream. Although it’s hard to believe, the people who don’t support you are the ones you need to thank.  On the OWN network’s Visionaries: Inside the Creative Mind, director James Cameron talked about how his father discouraged his passion for science fiction books and his mother encouraged his creativity. He said it was the perfect mix to help fuel his career. We all need the discouragers to motivate us to go beyond the status quo. Hard to believe, but they too serve a purpose in your creative pursuits.

3. Closed doors. We’re so focused on waiting for an open door that we don’t notice the ones that are not open. On Visionaries, James Cameron said, “Doors don’t just open for you. Every once-in-awhile one will open a crack and you have to recognize that that’s the moment…You have to push it the rest open and you have to know that that’s the moment to step through. It’s a question of being prepared. Knowing what you want, moving toward it so that you are prepared in that moment to step through the door.”

4. Nothingness. I’ve written about lulls before. While they are uncomfortable and awkward, they are important. They are the pause, the emptiness, the space between where you were to where you want to be. They provide a place for reflection, for rest, for contemplation. Although we might dread the boredom, the anxiety or the discomfort they cause, we need them in our life.

5. Feeling small. I adore trees. In fact, I might be infatuated with them. When I stand next to a tree, I feel tiny and small. But trees don’t just make me feel petite, they remind me that I shouldn’t be too big for my britches-that it’s not all about me. That whatever I do on earth has a domino impact on those around me. And that while my mind would like to remind me that I am the most important thing in the world, I know that my life is like a falling star, bright, special and brilliant, but just one of many and quick to be gone.

{to be continued…}

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11 thoughts on “11 Surprising Things to Be Grateful For: Part 1”

  1. Brandi, this is beautiful, thought-provoking and very inspiring!

    It’s a great reminder to push through the obstacles and create no matter what. We don’t need to wait for the perfect opportunity or until we have everyone’s support. If we want it, we have to keep going.

    I also love your last line, which puts things into perspective, too:

    “And that while my mind would like to remind me that I am the most important thing in the world, I know that my life is like a falling star, bright, special and brilliant, but just one of many and quick to be gone.”

    1. Aw thanks Margarita! It was a good reminder for me too. Especially now that the holidays are approaching, I think it’s important to put things in perspective. Maybe instead of all the things we want to get for the holidays, what if we were to want the things we already have?

  2. I really like both of these “grateful for” articles. It does definitely put the creative path in perspective. I particularly like how the things we normally see as negative, like fear or closed doors, can be positive. Being still and quiet is just as important as driving oneself hard and thinking five steps ahead. 🙂

    1. So true Mahesh! Hope these were a welcomed break from all the writing I see you doing these last few weeks. Good luck on NaNoWriMo by the way! Hope you have more things to be grateful for next week!

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