Strawberries in the Desert

Story telling from Australia


I’m an optimist. If one plant dies, I know another will grow. There was a time when I lost sight of that optimism. There was no sign of a strawberry growing anywhere, never mind in the middle of my desert. A series of events conspired to make me miserable, and I did my utmost to add to that misery by staying in a job I hated.

I was working for the Telco giant, BT, trapped in a job that paid well but sapped all hope of being a writer. I liked the people, hated the job.

Put a plant in the wrong spot in your garden and it will wither; transplant it to the right spot and it will flourish. I was like a tomato plant, struggling in the gloomy shade behind a shed. Had I been a climbing hydrangea I’d have loved it. But I wasn’t.

The ‘gardener’ who helped me flourish was Professor Michael Hyland from the University of Plymouth, who randomly selected me to take part in a study on gratitude therapy. An email arrived out of the blue one day, asking me to participate.

Every day for two weeks I had to write down three things I felt grateful for. If I couldn’t find three things I was told to pick one thing, and write it down three times. Given my bleak outlook it was nearly impossible the first day, difficult the next then, astonishingly, it grew easier. Each day my mood lifted and by the end of the two weeks I felt happier.

On Tuesday I had a meeting with my publisher. Anyone else who has struggled for years to get published will understand why that sentence sings, so I’ll say it again. I had a meeting with my publisher. Halleluja!

Pan Macmillan’s address is Number One Market Street, Sydney, and I stood outside that tower block building for a moment and marvelled at the wonder of life. Number One Market Street is also the BT Building.

Life can change, and I am extraordinarily grateful that it can.

The study I took part in is finished now but I saved the workbook. I hope the authors won’t mind if I share it with you. Here it is if you think you might benefit from a boost of gratitude therapy.  Gratitude Therapy Mood workbook group 2

And here’s an article on gratitude therapy.

8 comments on “Gratitude

  1. monsoonwendy
    February 20, 2014

    Unbelievably excited for you Deb!! Every morning I remind myself to live with a spirits of gratitude and joy rather than meanness and scarcity. Just waking up and being able to freely swing my legs down onto the floor is the first source of gratitude. And then at night I reflect again like you suggested. I think knowing, even subconsciously that you will be doing that, sets the tone for the day. Even when it is not so great, you can choose to see the moments, tiny things, to be grateful for? Always, always grateful for Strawberries in the Desert. Love, W


  2. debhuntinbrokenhill
    February 20, 2014

    And I’m always grateful for your inspiration and light Wendy. Every time I wear your necklace of broken china I’m reminded of the joy and friendship I found in Broken Hill and I always get comments on how beautiful it looks! x


    February 21, 2014

    A…meeting…with…my …publisher….. Wow!Wow!Wow!


  4. debhuntinbrokenhill
    February 21, 2014

    And not just any old meeting, a meeting to look at a mock up of the cover!! xx


  5. Kate
    February 21, 2014

    Have been been talking about you today – I wonder if your ears were burning! Just sharing with others the excitement I’m feeling that the day is drawing closer when I’ll go into a book shop and feel oh so very proud of YOU.


  6. entwinedlife
    March 8, 2014

    Reblogged this on EntwinedLife and commented:
    A beautiful story, whether planting your own garden of dreams or rebuilding an Entwined Life… I am grateful to Deb Hunt halfway around the planet . This came across my screen at the right time, at the right place.

    With trowel in hand, tapping down gingerly plant roots or seeds in soil, I let these words pass my lips,

    “Grow well and Prosper!”

    Then my thoughts flash to Captain Kirk (a “Trekkie”I am not) and I feel a soulful grin as the vibrations are sent, intention in motion.

    “Grow well and Prosper!” Deb Hunt

    Jayme B – on the cusp of spring in Piedmont of North Carolina


  7. entwinedlife
    June 12, 2014

    Hi Deb,
    A recent post as a follow up to the morning I stumbled into your writing snap peas then gratitude… Stumbling into your writing that morning was grounding & healing… Enjoy… Can’t wait to read you book… This one for you, still grateful..

    Gratitude from down under | EntwinedLife

    Wake Forest, NC


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This entry was posted on February 20, 2014 by and tagged , , , , , , , .

I'm a writer based in Australia with a passion for gardening, remote places and people with a story to tell.

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