I couldn’t resist! Yes, I know everyone this time of year is reminding you about gratitude, but it is either this, or a short story regarding my shopping experience at a department store. Thought I’d save that one for another addition to my web site.
A few years ago I went through a difficult time. I know we all do. It is part of life. Just when we get comfortable with how things are moving along, someone throws a monkey wrench into the works and we either accept and allow for all that is arising, or wallow in our miseries. At that time, there were days when I thought I deserved a gold medal for my story-telling and suffering. Looking everywhere for possible relief, I came across several articles and mentions in books and email newsletters about a gratitude journal. Being a writer, I didn’t balk at the prospect of jotting down what I was grateful for, as surely there was a lot. The idea was to list at least five things you are grateful for that day.
The first week or so I really struggled. I found myself allowing my eyes to wander my abode until they landed on something that I was thankful I owned. Then I branched out and began to list attributes, physical and mental, that helped me get through the day. Now, I find myself listing close to ten. I review my day, marking down situations or people or occurences that were helpful, easeful, or went well. Many times during the week or month there are similar items on the lists, depending on what is occurring in my life at that time. I’m diligent about writing in the journal each night before I go to bed, even when I’m on vacation. I haven’t gone back to reread any of them. I haven’t tossed them out, but I probably will at some point.
What I have discovered is that it has changed my perspective. Instead of viewing the glass half-empty, seeing the world as full of “bad things”, I recognize the abundance in my life. When I list several times that I’m grateful for money to buy groceries or have tea with a friend, I find that bits of cash find their way into my pocket. While editing Of Stars and Secrets, I continuously wrote joyously for the blocks of time squeezed in between other obligations. Not to my surprise, any more, I had several days where larger pieces of undefined time became available to complete that project. As authors have written, the universe will supply what is appreciated. I suppose there is something to the energy that is expressed through thoughts as well.
This is something that you can try that costs only the price of a cheap spiral notebook and a pen, both easily found at a drug store. I date each entry for the next day, and begin each with: “I am grateful for:” Then, the next night, I’m ready to go. It takes only a few minutes and is great way to end your day. It may take a week or two, but with consistency, notice if it changes how you view the situations in your life. A yoga teacher, whose class I attend regularly, says she is grateful every morning for the hot, running water in her shower. Yes, it can be that simple. Mine are often intangibles, such as time, relationships, safety. This is the easy part.
Right now, I’m sure you could list a hundred things you are thankful for, from a working vehicle to a job to a spouse to your health to money in the bank. To take it a step further, can you be grateful for the “not-so-good” things in your life? An ailing parent, a dwindling bank account, a lost friendship? Ouch! These are what we don’t want to focus on, but can we be grateful, even here? Perhaps the ailing parent allows us to deepen our relationship with them, or encourage us to get our own lives in order. The reducing funds in the checking account could signal us to move to a different occupation, perhaps one we have been reluctant to try, but feel drawn towards. Maybe, the loss of the friend allows space for a new one to come into our life, or gives us the opportunity to learn something from the experience.
On the days that I’m allowed time to write and the words flow, I always include that in my journal. Or space to edit, the work completed by my graphics person, my typist, my books arriving, the opportunity for a book signing, selling a book, etc. Just in case you haven’t checked out what I give a ginormous THANKS for every day, click on www.myjoyenterprises.com Every word in every story, novel, and poem, I’m thankful for, and they continue to arise easily in my mind.