On a rainy/snowy February 5, 2014, Arts & Dreams shared the fourth workshop in our series of 7 after-school empowering art workshops with middle-school youth at Red Hook Initiative. This week was all about gratitude. Paying attention to the things we're grateful for helps us to focus on the good in our lives, which centers us and brings more things to feel grateful about. We gave everyone their own journal and invited them to write down 10 things that they're grateful for. Laura & Patricia shared their practice of keeping a journal and writing a gratitude list every morning. Keeping a gratitude journal creates a new habit of active appreciation that opens up our hearts and minds to receive and believe more reasons to feel good about ourselves. Patricia led the group in a centering breathing exercise that can be used any time to feel more peaceful and relaxed. Using two of her photographs as inspiration, she guided everyone in a brief visualization of a serene place, be it a beach or a waterfall. Breathing and practicing gratitude are both free and easy to use. Then the acrylic paints and paintbrushes came out. Laura demonstrated how to mix paint so everyone could create their own special colors. The youth got to work creating some amazing decorated journal art! We wrapped up by saying (or thinking) something loving to ourselves while looking in the mirror. Mirror work is one more practice that’s free and easy to do along our journey to love ourselves more.