Research has shown that simply thinking about gratitude improves our outlook and health.
(Click here for more) Building a daily habit of just asking yourself "What am I grateful for?" can
improve your mental state whether you think of an answer or not!

I wrote this poem last year to share the concept of gratitude with my
veterinary herbal
medicine students
in the Outerbanks. It was inspired by a nature meditation exercise used by
Wilderness Awareness School and the 8 Shields organization both founded by Jon Young,
author of
Coyote's Guide to Connecting with Nature.

I use this poem to encourage my students to express their own gratitude, in their own words,
to all that surrounds us in a regular (ideally daily) practice. It seems appropriate to share it now
as I am reminded of all of the things I am grateful for.

by Kris August

-Inspired by:
Thanksgiving Address: Greetings to the Natural World by Jake Swamp

I am grateful for the Earth that is our home, the rocks and stones and soil,

And for the water that flows over and inside the Earth and inside all living things.

I am grateful for all the living beings that move and grow and struggle and thrive on the earth:

The mushrooms and lichens and algae and plants that give us food and medicine and remind
us to be cautious,

The bushes and tall trees that give us fruit, nuts, shade, shelter and medicine too,

The fish, the insects, the birds, the mammals big and small, and the humans, who all give of
themselves in their own way for us to live together on this Earth.

I am grateful for the wind that brushes my face, the clouds in the sky, the thunder and
lightning, the rain and snow that clean and water the Earth.

I am grateful for the sun that warms my skin and gives us life, for the moon that tugs on us,
the stars that inspire, the distant planets and the universe stretching out as far as the
imagination can go and beyond.

I am grateful for beginnings and endings, creators and destroyers, and again for the creators
that bring us full circle to life.

Thanks to all.

I encourage you to create your own thanksgiving address however small or grand every time
you walk outside.