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On the Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude
Yes, it's old. For some value of "old." But sometimes that's exactly what's needed. Any help finding thankfulness in the midst of loss is a blessing.
I wrote up a whole thing about a book discussion I facilitated a month ago. It was on Ross Gay’s book, “Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude,” available at Bookshop.org, Moon Palace Books, and elsewhere; spoiler alert: it’s wonderful.
So, in the event someone finds it in some way edifying or fruitful, this was the frame:
“You Should Be Thankful”
We all know loss. It’s part of being human. And we all have something to be thankful for—if nothing else, the fact that you can read or hear or feel these words means something has gone right in your life.
It’s easy to look at someone else and say, at least I’m not that bad off. (There’s always someone who has it worse.) But is that enough?
I am wondrously grateful every day that I wake up. And still, everywhere I turn, I see loss. How can we reckon with loss and still live a life that embraces gratitude?
I invite you to open yourself to these questions.
Ross Gay is, among other things, a poet, an educator, and a community gardener. He published a poetry collection in 2015, titled “Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude,” in which he speaks a practice of gratitude while remaining awake to the loss that animates it. I encourage you to use that collection—24 lyric poems—as a field on which you can engage your thinking on gratitude; to think about ways in which you can bring all of yourself into the world, and possibly bring something new out of it.