I just got back from the gym. I’ve started working out at the gym again this year because, you know, your body adapts to whatever activity it’s used to and you need to shake it up some. In my case, my body was adapting nicely to sitting down hooking rugs and working at my desk. This is an unacceptable state of affairs for a person who was a certified personal trainer and avid runner in another life, and who, for the past four years or so has poured almost every spare moment in to building a business. For 2017 I have decided I need to crawl out of that metaphorical cave and take care of other aspects of my life, one of which is my fitness level. To say that I’m grateful to have a nice, clean, pretty quiet gym in town is an understatement.
Last week I saw that the Squam Art Workshops, for whom I had the privilege of teaching in 2015 and 2016, was having a sale on their gratitude journals and the cherry on top of the offer was that all profits were going to a non-profit organization that I am a member of, will be volunteering for, and strongly support. This seemed like just the right offer at just the right time, because I’ll be honest, I’ve been feeling a bit pessimistic lately.
This morning on the way home I stopped by the post office to drop off today’s shipping and, lo and behold, the journal arrived and it is lovely. The cover, as you can see, has a dew laden spider web on it, which is a familiar and beloved sight to me when I actually get up and outside early enough to see these in the grass, on my apple trees, or in the nooks and crannies on the outside of my barn.
Contrary to what you might expect, for me gratitude arises less often when things are at their very best, but more when things are not perfect. Maybe it’s the contrast of what seems very dark with what is light. Just as in rug hooking we are unable to clearly see an element we have hooked if we put too close a value next to it in the background, in life I think we see the bright spots especially when we are faced with darker challenges.
I plan to put this journal in my 1840 Farm tote that goes almost everywhere with me, alongside my rug journal, and use it spontaneously to record those flashes of light and gratitude that can arise at any moment if we’re really paying attention. I can see cases where the gratitude journal might feed ideas for the rug journal, and vice versa. When it comes right down to it, I’m a writer at heart – someone who scribbles down everything from random thoughts, to to-do lists, to sketches of what I just saw in my head, to sometimes rambling blog posts like this one. However, you don’t have to have that continual urge to document to just take a notebook or a scrap of paper and write down what you’re grateful for each day.
I am grateful for many things in my life, from my ability to go to the gym and run or lift weights to everything I have learned in the world of fiber art over the past five to six years. I am grateful to you, the people who read my blog posts and support my business. I am most grateful for my family, my husband, my four sons, and my sons’ girlfriends. I am grateful for the Parris House and Sunset Haven, these quintessentially Maine spaces I call home. I’m also grateful to live in a country where my voice can be heard and my actions can make a difference, whether through my donations to the lives of young women, my volunteer work for civil liberties, or my faith community’s commitment to our local refugee population.
One of the tag lines I use for Parris House Wool Works is, “Hook what you love.” Maybe this year our challenge could also be, “Hook what you’re grateful for.” I know I will be thinking along those lines as I design this week’s new pattern. What are you grateful for today?
Happy hooking! – Beth