Writing down your thanks
In this season of Thanksgiving, you may find it helpful to keep a gratitude journal.?
If that sounds like another chore in a life already too busy, then just sit quietly and let things come to mind that you are grateful for.? It doesn’t have to be in the morning either, but doing it then sets an upbeat tone for the day. It also helps to keep you mindful of gratefulness throughout the day.
Writing in a journal adds a note of “special” to have a notebook set aside just for that purpose. It also keeps a record that you can refer back to.?
You don’t necessarily have to direct your gratitude to God. You can simply be grateful for those things in your day that genuinely inspire gratitude, such as a glorious sunrise, your spouse’s loving greeting, the project that’s coming along well or the book you’re reading that you are really enjoying. Or simpler things still such as “I can see,” “I have a roof over my head,” “I feel safe.”
My mother used to keep her sense of humor by saying, “Well, I could be a refugee!”?
A friend has written that she likes to write at night, and then read it again in the morning. She also says she leans towards listing things that make her laugh or surprise her or give her joy or peace, all of which inspires her gratitude.
One of my relatives has an annual custom of starting a group family email, where about ten of us share our gratitude entries with each other. We have the option of picking and choosing which relatives we want to share with!
This whole process has the effect of leavening the heart, tenderizing it, revealing the glow in life that can become obscured by what otherwise might simply be the daily grind.?
For you perfectionists out there, keep in mind that you are a mere human. That means that your gratitude will not be perfect, but it will serve the purpose. Dennis Depression and Sally Cynical may still float by, but you will be shining a light in the darkness, and so be helping it to lift.?
Day by day, you will be breathing life into a grateful heart.
If Thanksgivng also brings to mind Christmas shopping, I would personally put it in my own gratitude journal, if you were to give my book as a gift to others or yourself. It’s called “Wise Guyde: The First Forty-Five Columns,” and is available at Four Seasons Books and online at amazon.com. Key in the entire title to get an accurate result.
Wishing all of you a peaceful, grateful Thanksgiving.
Bill O’Brien is a consciousness coach and shamanic practitioner. He and his wife Linda have lived in Shepherdstown since 2005. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.