It was raining and miserable outside and I was feeling pretty miserable and ugh inside too.... so I sat down a little earlier for a few minutes and decided to get out my gratitude journal and take a peek at what I had previously written.
I tend to go in phases at writing in my journal and the last entries I made were around March at the beginning of this year.
It was lovely to read page after page of all of the things that I had written ..... the experiences, the things, the acts of service and the people in my life that I am thankful for.
I had forgotten that in January I had also started a "52 weeks of journaling" challenge with the "365 questions" by Tami Taylor... that I had downloaded from Pinterest.
Normally I would just write a list of ten or more things for which I am thankful for on that particular day but I thought that the question prompts may add variety to my thinking and give me a wider variety of topics and subjects to be grateful for.
I found it fun to read the answers that I had put down on paper to some of the questions.... such as.....
What made me smile today?
ah the kites...the kites...I'm grateful for the beautiful Majestic birds..... I had forgotten about he kites...I'm so glad I wrote it down..
3rd January ...... Are you content?
My answer.... difficult question that one... as Ive been struggling with my health and we don't have the ideal situation with Heni being poorly at the moment (on her second course of antibiotics)... I guess the answer is NO... not right now.
ah....I'd forgotten that Heni was ill for so long after Christmas...she was off college about a month in total....it was a really trying time but we DID come out of it.. and for that I am extremely grateful.... I'm so glad I wrote it down
7th Jan ..... Can people change.....
My answer.... most definitely
Ah I'm grateful I wrote that down so emphatically... It reminded me of my opinions and beliefs and to remember to act in accordance with them...I'm grateful that I have the ability to change too.
12th Jan.... What is making you mad?
My answer.... Today? I guess it's been individuals not tidying up after themselves.... and (the Hungry boy) going against what I said when he turned the film on after I'd said not to!
Ah... yes...I remember that...I'm grateful that I wrote that down....I'll be sure to remind him of it when he's older!
30th Jan ...My house is a home because....
My answer.... the people I care about live there with me.
Ah... I'm so glad and grateful that I wrote that down for the days I forget and wish I lived all by myself!
It is easy to forget the many little non important detail... the things that go on in a day, without even noticing them.... moments of life that we let pass us by ...and then are gone ....forever....
SO I resolved to amend my ways and start again TODAY... not tomorrow... TODAY and also add 4 other questions that I've often used from time to time... (I think they are from Tony Robbins book "Notes from a friend?")
What have you (I) given today?
What have you (I) learned today?
How has today added to the quality of your (My) life?
What have you (I) enjoyed today?
Here is what a typical page would look like
- I have given......... time to Daughter number 2, thanks to a friend, a massage to the hungry boy, time on the blog, time on the house chores....etc
- I have learned.... to make the most of the time when you get it... the sun only shone for half an hour so I was opportunistic and sat in it while it lasted before the rain clouds came again.....&.....that I re-remembered that I love being outdoors in the pool, it's one of my favourite places to be during ANY weather...when I swim its like meditating in water
- I added to the quality of my life..... by being with my children and giving them some time
- I enjoyed.... the brief reprieve from the rain and thoughtful act from a friend.
The funniest thing I heard was Heni making her fun sounds as she tries to compete against the other noises going on in the house. They are like high pitched squeals of delight and they make me smile. Sometimes she does the opposite and sounds like a fog horn.. then its not so fun : (
I am so grateful that at least she can communicate her needs.
I'm thankful for:-
.....My space to go and write... and the view from the window over the garden
...My sanity space....
...My Family and the photo I have of them in my office
...Flowers and the way everything looks so much more vibrant when the sun shines.
...A rainy day smoothie with daughter number 2 in the village
...That every cloud has a silver lining.
...and it's as simple as that....
Practicing gratitude is important for me to gain perspective at times when I tend to lose it.. which tends to be quite often! It helps me with the practice of "The Two R's" .........to "Realise" and "Remember" what I have and what is important.... The practice of gratitude can help focus the brain and work the "gratitude muscle" ...and even if what you are grateful for is only something small and seemingly insignificant it is the continued practice and refocusing that is the most important action of the practice.
I have seen various ways that people practice gratitude...whether it is writing in a book, using a digital app, putting pieces of paper in a jar and reading them at the end of the year or sending a letter to someone who has helped you... what is important is not what method you use but that you start... and practice.
I am thankful that it rained today ...because it made me get my gratitude journal out, reminded me of the feeling that it gives me and has set me back on the right track... once again!
If you want to join me in practicing gratitude, go to my 2015 pinterest board and get all this years question prompts from the web site that I pinned it from originally...
Oh and one last gratitude....
thanks to Tami Taylor for the 365 Questions!
If you want to read a little more here is a practical guide to gratitude
....and since writing and posting this, I have come across article published by TIME on the neuroscience of happiness.... guess what?.... gratitude is on the list of things that make you happy... go check it out here