Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Real Talk 1: Gratitude

This post is the first in a small series.  I've employed some practices, and have had some things on my mind, that I'm really excited about, and I'd like to share them here.  Not all directly food- nor LA-related, though food certainly weaves through these stories.  I'm calling it Real Talk, though in a less lofty moment, I could just as well have called it Better Living Through Google Docs.   Here we go.
I've been hearing people talk about gratitude a lot lately.  I think this bodes well for society (or whatever overeducated, overprivileged, over-yoga'ed, over-TED-talked corner of society I happen to run in).  We're rising above the mundane.  We're working on big ideas.

Gratitude has been a theme on this blog since the early days.  Some moments I had it, and with good reason.  Some days I struggled to get it back, remembering how overflowingly amazing those moments felt.

As we moved into 2014, I kept catching wind of people intentionally taking time to write down things they were grateful for.  Diana talked often about how jotting down a few things she was grateful at the end of each day helped her keep perspective in the rocky year that followed a pretty brutal breakup.  Chris shared lists on Facebook throughout Thanksgiving day -- of writers, food people, community leaders -- closing each with the simple hashtag "thankful".  His lists resonated and made me thankful, too.  Gabe felt the power of practicing gratitude as he navigated the shaky waters of moving across the country, quitting his job, and finding his own way.

And then there was Danielle, a person whose wise words have seen me through some rocky days of my own.  At the start of 2014, she looked back on a year that included a new husband, a new career, and baby Oliver, born on Thanksgiving day, and she tied these riches to her own gratitude practice, which she started two years back: "I don't mean to suggest that I believe being grateful can get me what I want, but rather that I can see that being grateful deepened my capacity for joy, helping me to allow in people and events that I would have felt undeserving of before."

Compelling.  So I tried it.  Google Doc.  A few items a night.  It's awesome.  And takes like 30 seconds.   I started off 2014 in amazing spirits, mostly because I was so incredibly happy that no-good, very bad, awful 2013 was over (though I could easily talk about the many profound ways in which that terrible year was in fact, great).  My year has been rich so far:  so many wonderful moments.  I do believe that taking a second to remember this every day has kept me on a path of happiness.  I'm excited to see where it leads.

I'm going to leave you with some highlights from the last couple months of gratitude.  After all this lofty talk, you should probably know how inane this list can be.  Don't judge.

  1. naps.  naps.  naps.
  2. there is a werewolf howling outside right now. i am inside.
  3. dates, even bad dates, are funny.
  4. health!  yaaaaayyyy!
  5. the good feeling of actually being in my city. i love walking.
  6. so so so so thankful that mom and dad have each other.  my god.
  7. i took a dive, and it totally paid off.
  8. the fb page and how wonderful it keeps getting.
  9. beyonce.
  10. in a minute i’m going to the trails cafe, where there is free wifi.  in the woods.
  11. my friends are amazing.  they are all so smart, and introspective, and involved, and supportive, and understanding, and interested.  amazing amazing.
  12. avocado on wheat toast with a farmer’s market fried egg, flaky salt, and tapatio.
  13. cousins.
  14. the deliciousness of kogi everything, and the fact that we can have kogi and chego anytime we want.  it’s better than having like, the mona lisa, or the sagrada familia.
  15. my poor sister, who listens to me whine all the time.
  16. the awesome current hair sitch.
  17. time bank.  serendipity.  the glory of LA.  echo park lake.
  18. that carolyn is ok, and that takashi is so cute and squishy.
  19. going out, but then coming home.
Do you have any gratitude practices?  I'd love to hear about them.


  1. Avocado toast has made its way on my gratitude list more than once, I have to admit.

  2. Ramos, avocado toast is a gift. Especially when had at the cafe at the Ace downtown with a friend who just made her way home after months in New Zealand!