Knowing what we appreciate is much more than an exercise in gratitude.

What do you appreciate in your life?

I appreciate having a home that I love, healthy food in my kitchen, and being fortunate enough to have credit cards that I can use and pay off.
I appreciate the people closest to me: I can feel their love and care for me. I learn so much from them, and they are each so different, so powerful and beautiful.
I feel the same about my community; during these times, they have demonstrated an incredible amount of generosity and thought for the concern of not just the sustainability of our studio, but also of those within the community that are struggling. Some have literally helped others keep their memberships going.
I appreciate feeling a sense of emotional stability.
I appreciate knowing that I matter.
I appreciate having health professionals in my life that I trust and adore.
I appreciate the responsiveness, health, and strength of my body: it tells me very quickly how well I’m taking care of it.

This is not just a gratitude exercise. It’s an exercise in knowing my needs. You may look at this and say, oh I don’t have that, but then you will have something that I didn’t include in my list. We often take our appreciations for granted until they are gone. Some appreciations (aka needs) might be so basic that we hardly think of them as a thing until one day they go missing. It’s like trying to appreciate a utility service- we don’t think twice about it until the heat or electricity stops working.
As children, the fortunate ones have many of these (and more) covered, and as we grow up, the fortunate among us are able to hold on to lists like this. It’s never too late to get any of these back.

It’s important to know what you truly appreciate in your life, and it’s just as important to know that those needs don’t just happen. They are a two way street. My mom used to tell me a crying baby gets milk.

I matter because I make myself matter. I don’t tell others “it’s okay” when it’s not. I also matter because others matter to me (beyond sentiment).
I feel a strong sense of emotional stability because I put time into developing that. I meditate and I practice intentional action the best that I can. Oh, I make mistakes, but also I’ve learned to be kind to myself. This doesn’t just happen by taking a deep breath whenever massive stress comes along or by being over-empathetic to self or others.
I have my basic needs covered because while I don’t worship or live for money, I also don’t say that money doesn’t matter. I know that in the life that I’ve chosen, with rent to pay, children in college, a dog and a cat, it does matter, and I need to act like it.

Knowing what we appreciate points to knowing what we need to tend to in our lives to have our most basic needs met and to sustain them. When this happens; when we nurture what we appreciate, those things grow. Using our creative nature to figure out how to nurture them helps us grow.

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