Thursday, February 26, 2009
A glimpse of gratitude
Here is a glimpse of my first gratitude journal, which is almost full. What a great feeling to have a book full of gratitude!
It was so satisfying and therapeutic to keep this journal as it made me look back on each day, even the not so fabulous ones, and find the good parts...and there were always good parts, even in the midst of worry and stress and occasional heartache. I found that there are always dozens of things to be grateful for in an ordinary day, and ending even a bad day by trying to find the best parts meant that I took good thoughts with me into slumber...which in turn would carry forth to the next day.
This particular journal began as an altered book. It was an old book, so the spine is wonky and I had to glue groups of pages together for stability. I also began by embellishing each page with just a bit of art -- mostly paints, rubber stamps, doodles and decorative borders. Just enough color and texture so that picking it up is a celebration of sight and touch. It invites gratitude, I think. If you've been wanting to venture into the world of journaling, but want to start with small steps, I encourage you to begin with a gratitude journal. It's remarkably easy and uplifting. I like altered books as journals because the pages are already filled and I find the text-filled backgrounds less intimidating than plain white pages, but just pick a book (or make a book) that feels good to you. I don't impose too many rules for myself when I embark on this kind of project. I didn't have a set number of items for which I should be grateful, and I didn't do it everyday. Some days I was just bubbling over with gratitiude - like when my niece was on the mend from her recent surgeries. Other days I did it because my day had seemed so awful, and I wanted to pull myself out of a bad mood -- and it worked every time. Consciously reminding myself of my blessings made them multiply, it seemed. Really, I was just making myself more aware - it was a great exercise in living more joyfully.