Three Gratitudes – Carrie Newcomer

Every night before I go to sleep
I say out loud
Three things that I’m grateful for,
All the significant, insignificant
Extraordinary, ordinary stuff of my life.
It’s a small practice and humble,
And yet, I find I sleep better
Holding what lightens and softens my life
Ever so briefly at the end of the day.
Sunlight, and blueberries,
Good dogs and wool socks,
A fine rain,
A good friend,
Fresh basil and wild phlox,
My father’s good health,
My daughter’s new job,
The song that always makes me cry,
Always at the same part,
No matter how many times I hear it.
Decent coffee at the airport,
And your quiet breathing,
The stories you told me,
The frost patterns on the windows,
English horns and banjos,
Wood Thrush and June bugs,
The smooth glassy calm of the morning pond,
An old coat,
A new poem,
My library card,
And that my car keeps running
Despite all the miles.

And after three things,
More often than not,
I get on a roll and I just keep on going,
I keep naming and listing,

Until I lie grinning,
Blankets pulled up to my chin,
Awash with wonder
At the sweetness of it all.

Three Gratitudes

Well, this is a long one but as you can see, that is the whole point. And I actually have done this, started with the traditional three things for which I am grateful on this particular day and realized there were more. And more. And still more.

Of course, each person’s list will be unique and different on different days. Simple things for the most part, reading on the porch while the rain pours down around me, the taste of mango gelato, walking the summer evening streets with a friend, the scent of the single peach-coloured Peace rose from my parents’ garden which is now in mine, shared cups of jasmine tea, clean sun-baked-wind-dried sheets, the love and support of my family, the sweetness and constancy of my friendships. You see what I mean.

It’s a small practice and humble, / And yet, I find I sleep better / Holding what lightens and softens my life / Ever so briefly at the end of the day. It’s true. These are the things that lighten and soften my life, enrich my days. It’s simply a matter of paying attention, noticing what can escape my notice when I am distracted. And even on my worst days, I can always be grateful for food and shelter and my health, even when it’s not the best.

When I first came to the last stanza, I found myself grinning too. This poem is cause for gratitude in itself. May you too get on a roll. Start naming and listing and find yourself awash with wonder at the sweetness of it all.

ps With gratitude to my daughter Chloe for the close-up of leaves from our lushly prolific ginko tree.

20 thoughts on “Three Gratitudes – Carrie Newcomer

  1. A delicious offering, Jan. A practice I value and forget over and over again. “Holding what lightens and softens my life”. Thank you for the reminder. I attended a workshop with Carrie last year and her presence in person is just as sound and wise and sweet as her words.


  2. The poem is a wise practice as you say, Jan. I am going to try this practice out. I don’t know why I have never done it. I think I will find pleasure as a result.
    1. A good poem
    2. e-mail
    Two thumbs up,


  3. Dear Jan, The worst days are the ones where I am feeling hard—in my heart or mind or muscles. A nightly practice of softening is a brilliant idea that my soul will latch onto. I am so grateful that you are who you are.


  4. Oh, Jan , this is so beautiful and inspiring for a simple yet profound practice. Thank you for this reminder. And also, your daughter’s photo is stunning. I love the greens.

    love, Margaret 613-725-6941 h 613-795-9879 c

    “The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth, dwelling deeply in the present moment and feeling truly alive.”

    – Thich Nhat Hanh



  5. Beautiful writing Maureen! Welcoming the habit of showing gratitude in my life really changed it in a lot of positive ways. I’ve been using as a tool to keep a gratitude journal and love it so much.

    Lot’s of love!


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