A few years ago, I read a book called Calling in the One, and in it there was a challenge to write five pages of things you’re grateful for. Five pages feels daunting, but it’s not about the pages, it’s about the energy generated by the pages. Spoiler Alert: By the time you get to page five, you’ve gone from being grateful for a job, a new dress, and shelter to being grateful for trees and a heartbeat.
I’ve been thinking a lot about gratitude lately, and what it means to find joy and peace of mind when there are no material experiences or things to accumulate in order to affirm that gratitude. What has helped me so far is leaning into my gifts. We each have a gift, and our gifts always make room for us. As you’re working through this week’s recommendations, I also encourage you to answer this question from the late entrepreneur, Jim Rohn: “How can I match my intrinsic talents with one of the world’s deep needs?” Happy discovering!
- TO WATCH: If you haven’t watched the Netflix documentary Disclosure, it’s time to get on it. Laverne Cox, best known for her role as Sophia in Orange is the New Black, narrates this history of trans and non-binary characters and actors in Hollywood cinema. From silent films in the late 1800s to Pose in present day, trans and non-binary people have always been apart of the American narrative. Through interviews with trans and nonbinary actors and filmmakers, Disclosure unpacks the (unhealthy) ways that trans identity has been portrayed in the media and how we can move forward with images that don’t rob anyone of their humanistic value.
- TO EAT: Sometimes it’s the simple things that bring me the most joy when it comes to food. One of my favorite meals is a spinach salad with a salmon filet. For the salmon, I usually season it with a little salt, pepper, and rosemary, then slather it in garlic butter. I throw it in the oven on 375 for 15-20 minutes and it’s juicy and delicious.
- TO DRINK: Between quarantine and 90 degree weather in the South, I could certainly use a drink. One of my favorite food blogs is Eating with Erica, hosted by Erica Key. Every week, she sends out a newsletter with yummy recipes and there’s always a cocktail in there. This Woodford Spire she recommends is rich, savory and smooth. It’s a refreshing drink in the dog days of summer.
- TO PLAY: John Legend is one of my favorite artists. I’ve seen him in concert twice and his voice is as soothing as oil. His latest album, Bigger Love, epitomizes the best of what he offers as an artist: Melodic vocals, piano and great love songs. The world could use bigger love right now and this album will leave you feeling good.
- TO READ: Anyone who knows me must accept that I love a singer-songwriter-musician, and among my Top 5 is Alicia Keys. In her autobiography, More Myself: A Journey, Keys (or rather Alicia Augelo Cook, as she was called before we knew her) shares her journey from growing up in a Hell’s Kitchen apartment with her mom to singing on stages around the world. This is such a well-written memoir, and her co-writer Michelle Burford captures Keys’ poetic language and the energy of New York City so well. I’ve been listening on Audible, which is a real treat because Keys plays piano between chapters, occasionally sings and includes the voices of people who have shaped her as an artist, including her parents, Oprah, Clive Davis, Jay Z, and more. Maybe it’s because I’m an Alicia Keys fan, maybe it’s because I miss Manhattan, but this is one of the best Audible productions I’ve ever heard. Dive in!