Practising charitable gratitude in midlife

My ‘book bundle’

As a midlifer, I thought that I had seen almost everything there is to experience and witness. Then came the pandemic. The one thing which has helped me cope well through the year has been my Christian faith and the art of practising gratitude. (As an aside, you don’t have to be religious to practise gratitude.)

Before the lockdown, I used to think that ‘practising gratitude’ was a silly artificially manufactured American phrase. But then lockdown came along. The art of practising gratitude for the small and big things in life helped me cope. Instead of rushing for the train in the mornings, I was able to wake up at the same time but take in a walk in my local park through summer and spring before starting to work at my dining table. Green spaces and having a table to work on made me feel grateful. These were the small things. The big things were spending time with my daughter (she may disagree) and good health (no colds or infections even).

When the opportunity was presented to collaborate with EmbraceAbility, a charity which provides for disabled and disadvantaged families in Cambodia, I grabbed it. It was an opportunity to put my ‘practising gratitude’ into one of outreach too. I speak for myself here only – It’s all very well sitting in one’s garden sipping herbal tea feeling grateful for peace and solitude but it’s a pretty empty gesture if one does not translate it into a hybrid experience. By this, I mean transferring one’s sense of wellbeing into helping others.

EmbraceAbility is based in Brighton and provides charitable assistance in Cambodia in five ways: Covid assistance, community outreach, inclusive education, the running of centres providing rehab and daycare services and, lastly, sporting activities for children with disability. I have a niece with learning and physical disabilities myself and saw the opportunity to blog about the charity as a way of giving back.

There are two ways to support EmbraceAbility: through the purchase of a Spice Box (see photo below for an ideal Xmas present) or the Book Bundle.

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The Spice Box contains:

  • 4 x Traditional Cambodian recipe cards  **
  • 3 x Refillable jars containing:
    • Turmeric (40g)
    • Ground Ginger (40g)
    • Dried chilli (40g)
  • Fresh Lemongrass (40g)

The recipes are for:

Cambodian Chicken/Butternut Squash Curry

Coconut Cream Bananas and Tapioca

Coconut Shrimp/Tofu Soup

Lemongrass Chicken/Tofu Skewers

The Book Bundle costs £11.99 per month and you get a popular read novel plus other goodies. My Book Bundle (pictured at the top) contained a herbal teabag called ‘Moondrop Dreams’ and a pack of flower seeds. There is a social justice angle to the Book Club, your book comes wrapped in cloth, the type of which is used as a rag substitute for property sanitary napkins because period poverty is rife in Cambodia.

Please do take a look at the EmbraceAbility shop and consider a donation. It is the time of thanksgiving and for practising gratitude.

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