Gratitude for Demun Share the Wealth Writing Class

by Mark Chmiel

As the summer Share the Wealth Writing Class on Demun winds down, gratitude is, once again, an appropriate theme for meditation (quotations with page number are from Robert A. Emmons, Gratitude Works!).

“A French proverb states that gratitude is the memory of the heart ….Do you want to be a grateful person? Then remember to remember.” x

At the vibrant age of 49, Jenny has countless experiences-to-be-remembered-into poems ahead of her.

“Expect nothing, appreciate everything.” 21

The beauty of paintings and photos, the haimish spaciousness, all the windows, ah, the generosity of Marty and Jerry to open their home to us!

“Becoming aware that a very pleasant experience is about to end enhances feelings of gratefulness associated with it.” 12

It may be fitting for Brenna to start writing a list of 100 occasions for gratitude because of these last years with Paulina.

“The word gratitude is derived from the Latin gratia, meaning grace, graciousness, or gratefulness. All derivatives from this Latin root have to do with kindness, generousness, gifts, the beauty of giving and receiving, or getting something for nothing.” 78

Ellen’s love and gratitude for Ann Manganaro urge me on to write about some of the people who have amazed and inspired me.

“When we focus on the good that comes to us every day, in every situation, we can be filled with a deep thankfulness even in seemingly routine situations in our lives.” 99

By the time Liz graduates from GWU I may have phone text message equivalent of a thick novel (words and images) chronicling evolving and expanding philosophy of love, from Lincoln County to Balata Refugee Camp.

“It is said that feeling gratitude but not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. For various reasons, we often don’t express gratitude to those who deserve our thanks. We assume they know how much we appreciate them.” 170

While some of us in this class know of legendary Arab hospitality, there is also the hospitality offered by Chris, both at her Fenton farmhouse and her NCS first-grade classroom where we can cultivate healing from the pathologies of America.

“Setting aside time on a daily basis to recall moments of gratitude associated with even mundane or ordinary events, personal attributes one has, or valued people one encounters has the potential to weave together a sustainable life theme of gratefulness just as it nourishes a fundamentally life affirming stance.” 22

Kaitlin’s writing project helps me to appreciate the people in our lives who “get it” or “get us.”

“Gratitude is about remembering.” ix

Many scores of meetings, demonstrations, potlucks, book discussions, movie nights, cafe visits—life with Fatima is an advanced seminar in exuberance and sharing.

“Just a couple of minutes of writing about good events in one’s life may be enough to produce positive emotional effects.” 144

Being present and practicing deep listening are a couple of Ron’s gifts to his clients, as his writing is to his friends and community, and, maybe, some day his clients as well.

“We are social creatures by nature. We were created with a longing for belonging, an urge to merge with others.” 61

I encourage everyone to visit Sarah in Troy, where you will see her merging with all sorts of characters in mythic small town USA.

“Opening ourselves to the majestic moments in our lives naturally redirects our attention to the gifts that surround us.” 4

Recognizing such moments while diving through the sky, running in the park, and teaching her students must give Cait glorious goosebumps.

“In today’s social media age, letter writing is likely to be viewed as an arcane relic from the past.” 72

Au contraire!—I have ample, tactile proof that letter writing is alive and flourishing in USA 2018 through Cami’s correspondence.

“Gratitude is a social emotion that is expressed in the context of relationships.” 61

This Tony must know all too well from the last several years of off-scripting, accompanying others on the Camino, and offering retreats and classes for people to wake up to their lives and gifts.