When I was about eight or nine my Mum gave me a shiny emerald green notebook. She told me about a segment she had seen that day on the Oprah show. Oprah had been talking to a woman about the act of gratitude journalling, that is, each day writing down the five things you were most grateful for that day. They didn’t have to be big things such as being alive, having a roof over your head, having a job; rather, the list should contain things that stood out that day: a friend dropping by unexpectedly, the flowers blooming on your lawn under the summer sun, someone giving you their parking spot in a busy shopping centre car park. Oprah and her interviewee went on to discuss how the act of journalling gratitude made you more aware of the great things in your every day life, and that it was a wonderful way to introduce children to the act of being grateful.
So, Mum bought my sister and I each a notebook (shiny sapphire for Jess) and explained to us how the journals worked. I can’t remember exactly how long I persevered with the five things a day list, but it did start me on the track of journalling nearly daily for many years – a habit that I have recently taken up again.
The gratitude list fell by the way side for many years resurrected at various times when I felt the need to refocus my vision on the wonderful things that happen in my life every day.
On Saturday I had a hard-to-hear but much-needed conversation with my sister who asked me why I seemed so negative in many of our conversations lately, when there are so many positive things happening to me. I had been asking myself this question over the past week as well; why, when my life has so many shiny happy things in it, am I feeling like everything coming out of my mouth is framed in the negative?
I don’t want to live my life that way. I don’t want to be the negative Nelly in the crowd. I want to frame the positive in my words and actions.
One way I can start today is to reinstate the gratitude journal. Each day, record just one thing, just one, that stands out in my mind as wondrous and special and makes me grateful to have been in that day.
Each Sunday (I know I’m late this week already…) I will post the list here to keep myself accountable. And, perhaps to inspire you all to think about what you were grateful for in those seven days.
I present, Week One of the Thoroughly Nourished Gratitude List:
- Monday 25th March: A distraction-free morning without phone or internet because of the storm overnight. I got my whole assignment done in three hours!
- Tuesday 26th March: An assignment that encouraged me to interview my Mum about her childhood and understand some of her wisdom even more.
- Wednesday 27th March: My darling Chris taking care of me while I was not feeling well.
- Thursday 28th March: Workmates that I can call friends as well as colleagues – a rarity in the world.
- Friday 29th March: a slow run returning my faith that I can get to the finish line of the Gold Coast Half Marathon this year.
- Saturday 30th March: An unexpected movie date and pre-Easter m&m chocolate treat.
- Sunday 31st March: The longest nap ever (four hours) with my favourite naptime partner.
My dear readers, what is something you have been grateful for over the past week? Anything ordinary that made an extraordinary difference to your day?