I have an on-again off-again relationship with journaling (and blogging, you might have noticed). When I have a hard decision to make or complicated feelings to work out, writing in a journal (or in a pinch, on the back of a napkin) really seems to help me sort things out. There was a time in my life when I was working my way through a long and persistent funky gray cloud that wouldn’t seem to go away. In those dark days someone I like a lot mentioned her habit of ‘gratitude journaling.’ It’s a simple act: once a day (bedtime for me), write down at least one thing you’re grateful for.
She liked to write down three things each day. Some people like to write five. Some people like to write one thing you’re grateful for, one thing you’re worried about, and one thing you’re looking forward to.
Anyway, what I found from that habit of journaling each night was that I began to really look forward to those few moments of quiet reflection, trying to pull something good and meaningful out of a day that had ground me to a pulp. And no matter what, with a little effort I always found something good and meaningful, because when you think about it, you probably really do have quite a lot to be grateful for, and that act of thinking about it reignites your appreciation for the truly good and meaningful things in life. Take that, dark cloud.
So as usual Independence Day got me thinking about my community of inter-dependence, and I got to feeling really grateful for all the kind and loving things that others have done for me lately. So I made a list: three recent random acts of kindness that I’m really grateful to others for doing for me recently. Here they are:
1. Helped care for my children. There are few more reliable sources of stress for me than patching together child care when school (or camp) is out. Twice recently friends have taken my children – unasked! – for a couple of hours so that I could get work done.
2. Insider Beach tips. Last week when a friend from the coast heard we were going to the beach he gave us the low-down on local events so that we wouldn’t get stuck in traffic craziness. So we spent our beach time pleasantly lolly-gagging instead of sitting in a traffic jam.
3. Two friends have referred business to me lately. As a consultant, word-of-mouth is my bread and butter – I can’t say how much it means to me when somebody who knows me trusts my work enough to recommend it.
Once I got started making this list I thought of a lot of other wonderful things for which I’m really grateful, but I’m just going to keep it to these three for today. Thank you, beloved community.