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"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."

 ~ Marcel Proust
November is my favorite month because it's the month of Thanksgiving, and seems to be the perfect time to be thankful for our own lives, the lives of our loved ones and the circumstances under which we live. 

Being grateful includes counting all of our blessings, noticing what brings us joy, and acknowledging what we receive physically, emotionally and spiritually from others.

Studies have shown that those who are grateful are more likely to be happy. Also, being grateful can improve your relationship with yourself and with others.

My intention this month is whenever possible, to express gratitude, and I hope you join me in this intention! 

Gratitude Diaries (memoir) by Janice Kaplan

This is a very creative memoir written by journalist Janice Kaplan, who decided to spend a year living gratefully as a way to improve her marriage and, subsequently, her life. She claims to have been transformed by the experience. The book's creative slant is her incorporation of current-day research on the health benefits of gratitude woven into her candid disclosures about personal aspects of her life. This makes the book a fast and compelling read and an ideal gift for Thanksgiving.
Kaplan advocates and shares the importance of "compassion meditation," where you spend extended periods of time focusing on kind and loving feelings. It has been said that this sort of meditation actually changes the volume of the brain and the circuits involved in emotional reactions.
Kaplan eloquently says, "Looking for the positive in every event had changed my attitude-and it was also fun. I felt liberated to understand that it wasn't events that made me happy, but how I chose to frame them.  . . . I could decide to feel annoyance and torment-or I could decide to feel joy. It still required some conscious effort, but gratitude was helping me to feel the joy."
In the end, what can be wrong with an attitude of gratitude?

Essays After Eighty by Donald Hall (Essays/Memoir)
While the perspective of Hall's essays is from that of an octogenarian, these wonderfully crafted and compelling essays are infused with words of wisdom, revealing Hall's lifelong passion for being a wordsmith. While he discusses how old age is a ceremony of losses, he does say that all his loves and losses give him much to ponder and write about. He also professes that for sixty years he's been writing his autobiography in book after book, poetry and prose.
One of the best lines of the book is in the chapter "Three Beards," where Hall says, "When I turned eighty and rubbed testosterone onto my chest, my beard roared like a lion and lengthened four inches. The hair on my head grew longer and more jumbled . . ." The vivid imagery in his prose is certainly nurtured by his wonderful knack for poetry.

When talking about facing death, Hall says that it's almost relaxing to know that he'll die fairly soon, adding, "As it's a comfort not to obsess about my next orgasm . . . my goal in life is making it to the bathroom. In the past I was often advised to live in the moment. Now what else can I do?" Hall's wisdoms, timeless sensibilities, and acceptance of his place in life permeates every page of this book, as does his remarkable sense of humor. 


If you have just released a new book or have read a book you highly recommend, please share the title and author by emailing me. I love supporting the accomplishments and passions of my readers.  Thank you! 
" The Things I've Lost. " ( poem). Word Soup. October 2015.

"Remants." (poem). Pyrokinection. October 15, 2015.

"How Can You Be More Stoic?"  (blog post).  Psychology Today. September 21, 2015. 

"How to Be More Conscious and Compassionate." (blog post).
Psychology Today. October 6, 2015.

"How I Went from Breast Cancer Survivor to Thriver." (blog post).
Huffington Post. October 12, 2015.

"Finding Light in the Darkness. (blog post). Psychology Today. October 21, 2015.

"Healing With Words: A Writer's Cancer Journey." (essay) . October 13, 2015.
"Writing to Heal." (blog post). October 2015.  


- Make a list of 5-10 things for which you are grateful.
- Write a thank you letter to someone who has influenced your life in a positive way.
Creatively yours,

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(Subject: Newsletter) 

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