Tag Archives: Gratitude journal

Reflections

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The folks at WordPress notified me a couple weeks ago that I’ve now been writing this blog for three years.

That’s a pretty big accomplishment for me!

I am a terrific “starter.”

I’m also a pretty amazing “quitter.”

I have the best of intentions, always, and commit quite easily to numerous projects, endeavors, plans and resolutions.

I will call my daughters every week; I’ll write letters and send cards regularly; I’ll pay bills on time. I will walk every day, floss every day, make my bed every day. I will keep an organized studio, a tidy house, a weed-free garden, a well-groomed lawn.

Or, I’ll make those kinds of promises to myself, and give it a shot.

My gratitude journal never lasted more than five days before I’d set it aside for several months. Most exercise programs, the same. I started a diet last week and lasted four days before I sold out for chicken and dumplings.

This blog, I have been maintaining for three years.

I kept the commitment simple: publish once a week, or thereabouts, with no specifics on topic, tone or length.

Even so, I’ve been falling off quite a bit lately.

It’s not for lack of things to write about.

My thoughts seem to organize themselves into sentences and paragraphs all on their own. I’ve had a running narrative in my head about “Life with Dogs” that I add to almost daily. Another, loosely titled “Death All Around Me,” involves the lives – from mosquitoes and houseflies to mice and shrews – that I snuff out with little thought and even less guilt…most of the time. If anyone would be interested in hearing whining or complaining, I could come up with several blogs on a dozen different subjects right away.

Sometimes, it has been hard  to refrain from the complaining!

The fact is, I’ve been working a great deal, am behind in most everything, and haven’t had the time or energy to write. Or read. Or respond to comments. I’ve missed it, though.

For the month of November, WordPress hosts two different writing challenges. One is to publish a blog post every day. I think I may commit to it, just to get back on track.

Or at least give it a shot.

Shadows of Gratitude

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My friend Kathy, who writes from her little house in the woods of Michigan’s upper peninsula, yesterday wrote about gratitude.

She was inspired by the writing of two others, and she was pretty inspirational herself.

If I could remember how to link to things, or if I had the stamina to figure it out, I’d link to all three.

It’s an important thing to remember,  to be thankful.

About twenty years ago, my mother was similarly inspired when she heard Sarah Ban Breathnach speak on the Oprah show about her book, Simple Abundance; a Daybook of Gratitude and Joy. She really took it to heart. For the rest of her life, Mom counted her blessings. She had always been one to “look at the bright side” so it was a subtle change, but important to her. Mom gave Breathnach’s book to me and several of my sisters that year for Christmas.  I remember, too, a short but heartfelt lecture about it.

“Just read it, Cindy, and sincerely give it a try! Just give it a chance, and see if your life doesn’t improve…”

I say things like that to my daughters when it seems they are struggling or unhappy. I suggest books or programs that might help to make sense of the chaos their lives seem – to me, from this distance – to be in. Even over the telephone, I can almost hear the sound of their eyes rolling, they do it with such vehemence!

A talk like that was rare from my mother, though, and I listened.

I read the book, as she requested, and started a “gratitude journal.” Not being one to throw away perfectly good paper, I have it still.  It looks like I was pretty faithful about writing down the things I was thankful for  from April 9, 1996 through May 10, 1996. There is one entry in December of that year, then a long interval until July 24, 2001…then February 3, 2002…then February 1, 2005, where the first entry is, “I’m grateful I didn’t let 3 entire years go by without keeping up with this.” Very funny. I kept up the daily practice, then, for another five days. That’s it. I’m not even a quarter of the way through the book!

What is even more startling than my lack of dedication to the task, is my pathetically negative attitude.

I have my moments.

“I am glad to have two beautiful, sweet daughters”

“…my friends and family”

“…my grandchildren”

These sentiments repeat frequently enough, as well as gratitude for a package, a letter, a good book, a sunny day, a fresh snow, a warm cat curled beside me, the arrival of Girl Scout cookies…

I’m grateful that I at least noted these good things because mostly my gratitude journal is shameful.

“I wasn’t totally depressed today”

“I’m so glad the tire didn’t go completely flat”

“My hair looked okay for a change.”

“I did not sit home alone feeling sorry for myself tonight”

“I’m glad I left the party before I got even more depressed”

“I am grateful to have made it through the day”

“I feel okay today”

“I’m glad the green paint doesn’t look so bad on the bed frame”

This is like the “Dark Side” of gratitude!

It’s no wonder I didn’t keep up with it…I was horrible at it!

Freshly inspired by Kathy’s enthusiasm, I think I’ll try again.

I still have plenty of pages to fill, after all!