The paper leaves for the Gratitude Wall offer a great opportunity to reflect on gratitude.
By Shelley Widhalm
Have you heard of donor walls, where nonprofits and businesses thank their contributors?
Well, the Gratitude Wall is a take on that, at least at the assisted living center I visited on Thanksgiving Day. I thought it was going to be another year of the Gratitude Tree, where we put something we’re thankful for on leaf-shaped cutouts and adhere them to a tree centerpiece.
The Gratitude Leaves
This year, the activities director of the center, which is in Fort Collins, Colo., left folded orange leaves on the dining room tables. The leaves look like tiny greeting cards with “I am thankful for:” on the front that you open up for two blank spaces. The director told us to list the things that make us feel grateful, preferably before our meal of turkey and the fixings arrived, so we could talk about it over lunch. She asked us if we wanted to read them aloud (a half-dozen people raised their hands), or have staff hang them on a wall somewhere in the center.
Most of the residents opted for hanging the leaves—I imagine the result will look like a donor wall, but I only stayed for a couple of hours after the meal and didn’t see it by the time I left.
Anyway, on my leaves, I wrote, “Reading, Writing, Coffee, My Business, Getting Published, My Family and Friends, and Zoey, My dog!”
My mom said, “I knew you’d put Zoey in there.” Of course. She’s a cute, 12-pound miniature dachshund who is my BFF, coworker and whatever else.
The Gratitude List
My list could have gone on and on, but I placed reading and writing first, because those are my hobbies and the key skills for my writing and editing profession. I said my business, because even though it’s hard to go it alone, you can create your own life if you work at it. I added the publishing bit, because I recently got a short story published in “Rise: An Anthology of Change,” compiled by the Northern Colorado Writers. And I put my family and friends, because without their love, support and advice, I wouldn’t be where I’m at—I would still be at square one of figuring out how to have a business.
I should have put the Loveland Business Development Center, because the consultants there have given me advice, tips and homework, pushing me toward success—though, I feel like I’m in the middle, still striving. I still have a weekend gig job. I have a pile of novels and short stories I want to see published. And I can do better with my business. Lots better.
Next Year’s Gratitude
What makes you feel gratitude? Does your gratitude help you see success personally and professionally? How so? What do you want to add to your gratitude list next year?
For me, it’s a traditionally published novel, an improved blog and lots of business!