Friday, November 13, 2009

Contemplation Incurs Gratitude (and vice versa)

Seeing as how Thanksgiving is in less than two weeks, it's hard to go a day without hearing some kind of reference to, well, giving thanks. I often try to make a daily entry in either my regular journal or my thought journal about something that happened that day that I'm grateful for, or just something I'm grateful for, period (as an aside, this was actually one of my strongest tools when battling depression earlier this year. It's amazing to look back and read how many good things still happened and how many people were helping me out, even unintentionally). I love the perk I get by thinking about things that make me happy. In fact, I've often placed myself if a slightly awkward situation by thinking about funny things that make me grin, and then the next thing I know, I've started chuckling about a joke that only I'm in on.

But, all that aside, I've been trying really hard to steer away from patented things to be grateful for, like "family and friends," "the miracle of modern medicine," "education," "a good job," etc. The reason for this is not that I'm not grateful for these things, but rather that I don't want my gratitude to become rote. So, instead of looking at the huge, overarching blessings that cover so much, the joy becomes so much greater when thinking about the small, individual parts of these big wholes, which is what I've been striving to focus on.

Today's gratuity, because I like to misuse that word, is all the amazing different kinds of food I have access to. Since I studied plant biology in college, I got a taste of agronomy and was surprised to learn that the world lives substantially off of about eight different crops, including rice, wheat, corn, soy, potato, cassava, barley, and a couple others that aren't coming to me at the moment. It's understandable why these plants provide so much of the basic nutrition, they're generally inexpensive to grow and produce large quantities, and they're good carbohydrate bases to the diet. However, thanks both to globalization and some amazing horticultural practices, we have at our fingertips so many other kinds of food. I confess, I do get stuck in a rut more often than I'd like and my meals go through bouts of consisting of frozen burritos and nachos, but I do get unduly excited when I purchase something new at the store or make a foray to the Asian market. This week I enjoyed tabouli, quinoa, couscous, an awesome dish of sauteed vegetables with fried eggs mixed in, tangerines, spinach salad, mashed potatoes, and pomegranite seeds. I'm feeling pretty good this week. One of the things that I love about trying new foods is that it can be done from the comfort of my own home. Anyone have any awesome suggestions for new things I can try, since that's the gratitude topic of the day?

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