First, about the song. This was a top ten hit for Sam and Dave in early 1968. Though they would go on to release over a dozen more singles, it was their last top ten hit. Only their song “Soul Man” from the previous year was a bigger hit.
ZZ Top had a top forty hit with it in 1979. Bon Jovi and Bonnie Raitt have also recorded versions of it, and so had Tower Of Power (with a little help from Tom Jones).
This song came up for me as I continue to think about gratitude, which was a major part of the conversation on this past Friday’s show.
For those who don’t know, Toni DeMaio, Julia Hoffman and I begin each episode of Psychic Tapestry’s Love Show with gratitude, thanking everyone for listening, connecting and calling in to our show, as well as those who go the extra mile and engage with us on social media.
It’s not always easy to express gratitude, especially when you just feel like Life is really kicking you in the teeth. And, of course, those are the times you really need it the most.
I wanted to share something that I do, as I know this is very difficult for some. This is a pretty simple exercise I do every evening, and you can copy this and adjust it anyway you’d like.
Before I go to sleep, I think of eleven things I’m grateful for.
Why eleven? A couple reasons. First, eleven is a significant angel number, inviting spiritual support. That’s part of the reason I post the 11:11 Songs each day (and you can click on 11:11 Songs on the left-hand menu for more details on that).
The other reason is that I wanted the number to be big enough so that it wasn’t something easy where I could just say I’m grateful for my wife and kids and be done every evening. A number too small would make it too much of a simple string of words that, eventually, I wouldn’t even have to think about while repeating them.
I wanted to make sure I did think about what I was grateful for. I wanted it to mean something.
And I didn’t want that number to be too big. I didn’t want this to become homework, something that was too difficult to do every night, and where I might fall into the habit of deciding I was too tired to come up with so many things, and I’d try again tomorrow. Or the day after.
Eleven seemed doable.
To be honest, the first couple times did feel like I was just going through the motions, making a mental list the way you might try to remember what you need to pick up at the grocery store.
But making myself do this every evening, I noticed a shift after those first few times. And the words really started to mean something. I really did feel grateful.
Don’t misunderstand me. I don’t have it easy, and I’m not rich. Some days are difficult, and sometimes, it’s not so easy to feel grateful. But after making this appointment with myself, which I don’t break, it has become easier. And important.
And it makes a difference.
I feel grateful. I am more appreciative throughout the day. For little things and big things. It has changed my perspective and my attitude.
That doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally lose my temper, or get annoyed or frustrated. But those moments are shorter than they used to be. And even when they’re happening, I feel differently about my temper, annoyance and frustration. It dissipates faster.
I’m pretty sure my family is grateful for that.
So I’d like to challenge you to do this yourself. Make a date with yourself to review your own list of things you are grateful for. It can be at the end of your day, or at the beginning, or whenever you feel that you have the time. Just make it at a time that works best for you, and will work for you every day.
It can be eleven things. It can be more or less. The number is completely up to you. I would only suggest that you make it more than five and less than fifteen, just to keep it manageable. If you find that it’s very easy to do more, you can always increase it. Just don’t make it so big that it becomes an overwhelming chore.
And it’s okay if some of the things on your list are the same from day to day. The first five things on my list are always my wife, my kids, my dog and my home. When I think of each item on my list, I try to think of something that happened that particular day to associate with each. It’s easy to rattle off that I’m grateful for my wife, my kids, my dog and my home, but it gives each more value if I add in why I’m grateful for them.
The next five vary from day to day. Some are about food. Some are about weather. Some are about opportunities. Some are about challenges. Some are about something fun.
And the eleventh is always, always, always that I’m grateful for the music. Sometimes I expand on that and include specific artists or songs, and I add in the way I use music to give messages, and I add in that I’m grateful for all of my angels and guides, and any others in spirit who choose to connect with me.
As an example, here are the eleven things I’m grateful for as I sit here typing this:
1) My wife, who sang beautifully this morning (and cleaned a bunch of things while I took a nap today)
2) My daughter, who shared some fun stories (and Snapchat videos) when she got home
3) My son, whose laugh always makes me smile because it’s so deep, rich and sincere
4) My dog Benji, who will probably be bonking me with his cold nose soon to see if it’s time to go to bed and get his nighttime treat
5) My house and my home (I am grateful every day that I am fortunate enough to live in a house that is also a home, and not just a place where I’m living right now until something better comes along)
6) Sam and Dave, whose song inspired this post, and whose music makes me feel good
7) The Irish Pub we tried for the first time today (and it won’t be the last time we eat there)
8) Pokemon Go, a silly game I play on my phone along with my wife (and sometimes my daughter, too)
9) A beautiful, sunny and warm day
10) A nap I desperately needed to recharge
11) Music, which continues to be such an important part of my life and who I am
My parents, who I was able to Skype with today for nearly an hour, having a wonderful conversation about nothing of great importance
Traffic today wasn’t bad, with no accidents for us or for anyone else along our way (though a couple of them did get pulled over, presumably for speeding)
The evening walk I went on with my wife and Benji
The drive-thru we hit on our way to church this morning got our order right, and the tea was good
I get to go back to Myztic Isle tomorrow
I get to do three Psychic Tapestry shows this week, plus an appearance on Mainstream Metaphysics Radio with Eve from Elite Tarot
As you can see, sometimes I go over eleven. Some days, I recognize that my cup really overfloweth!
By the way, and I probably don’t have to say this, but I hope you understand that I didn’t post this list to show you how great I am, how lucky I am or how blessed I am. I only did that to give you an example of just how much there is to be grateful for, every day, and that those things don’t always have to be big, giant things.
If you feel comfortable, I hope you’ll share one of your gratitude lists, or how you’ve altered this to better fit yourself.
And here’s Sam and Dave, with their song “I Thank You”, with a 1969 TV performance (and the video is kind of blurry, but the music is wonderful)…