This past week's daily readings in Simple Abundance focused on gratitude and our assignment was to start keeping a gratitude journal.
I've done a gratitude journal in the past and it really can be helpful. The last time I did it, I was dealing with a very severe depressive episode. If I could get out of bed, dress and feed myself, I was having a good day. I started keeping a journal that was basically a list of accomplishments and a list of things for which I was grateful each day.
It was difficult at first, especially because my lists were very short and basic. Sometimes it was hard to come up with even 5 things for the day. But slowly my lists got longer, my accomplishments bigger. I could see that I was making progress. I could look back and see that little, good things were happening in my life. Keeping that journal was very helpful to my healing.
So now, many years later, I'm beginning a new gratitude journal, already filling up with good, everyday things that I appreciate. I keep my little journal on my bedside table and write my gratitude list before I go to sleep at night.
Its interesting how this exercise already is making me more aware of all the little gems in my life-- maybe things I've noticed before, but never consciously appreciated. Thoughts like, "Oh, I love warm showers," or "Flannel sheets are so soft and cozy," or "New books smell so good," pop into my head and now I pay attention. Its like these little thoughts of appreciation have been given a voice. They become a little points of positive focus throughout the day.
I'm sure I'll have down days where the best I can come up with is the basics-- food, shelter, health. But I think these will be few and far between. Something has changed within me over the years and I've learned-- and am still learning-- to appreciate the little every day gifts my life has to offer. And the more I practice, the better I will get at it.
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