Years ago my family started this tradition of creating a Gratitude Tree each November. This was a freebie from Big Life Journal. Throughout the month we write on paper leaves and tape them on the tree. We invite folks who come over to add to the tree. We take it with us when we go  elsewhere. When December 1 arrives, we roll it up and store it with trees from past years.

Before I put it away, I take a few moments to read all that’s been written. I’m always in awe while also not surprised by the power of naming, writing, reading these words.  Reading what’s been written enables me to have a more intimate experience with my feelings of gratitude. This is often accompanied by some tears and some laughter. I can’t wait to see what happens when somewhere down the road we open these scrolls. I imagine and hope that I am overwhelmed in the best way possible

I love how this feeling lingers and influences the lense through which I see the world, my clients, my colleagues and my family. It doesn’t blind me to the atrocities occurring in our larger world or the pain that is felt in many of our internal worlds. And it does provide a safe place of respite even for just a moment. As this year comes to a close, my hope is that we each find a safe place to connect to gratitude and to rest when needed.

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About the author
Kathryn Grooms

Kathryn is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over twenty years of experience working with issues of substance abuse, trauma, sexuality, gender, mood disorders and anxiety. Kathryn is passionate about empowering her clients to navigate their unique journey of self-discovery and emotional healing.