I am taking a very interesting class and one of the recent assignments is to write in a ‘gratitude journal’.
Now I have made it a practice over the years, to keep various journals. I have several travel journals that bring back memories of wonderful trips with my sisters and those with my best friend; in another journal I have recorded thoughts and feelings of a difficult marriage and divorce – a time when I questioned myself and my parenting; there are the journal records of my younger sister’s final days before cancer took her from us; and the one that documents the pain of losing my dear father.
One journal dedicated to gratitude – that is something I had not created. As I read through my various journals, I do see that I have been very thankful and appreciative of the blessings I have been given. I was not sure the benefit of creating a journal solely dedicated to gratitude. Nevertheless, being the good student and curious about what might be discovered, I found an empty spiral notebook and began the mission of creating a gratitude journal.
The assignment is that every evening before closing my eyes, I am to record three things for which I am grateful for today. I was to date each entry and write the words: “Today I am grateful for…“ Sounds simple enough!
The first thing I wanted to do was to be clear about the word: gratitude. It means ‘appreciative of benefits received’. Okay – I am ready to begin. Day one – I have the date, the heading and – – – nothing! Well, not really, but if I have to write something down and it can only be three things, what do I choose? How do I write it so it doesn’t seem shallow or like an assignment for a class? You know, it took me over 20 minutes to write eight lines – not sentences – eight lines of three things for which I was grateful – of benefits received. This might be harder than I thought!
I am now several weeks into my gratitude journal and I have made a very interesting discovery. This gratitude thing has become a very conscious part of my day. As I move through my day, I am awake to notice the benefits and the people who surround me. It is as though I am making a mental note of gratitude – that perhaps this will be one of my three recordings for the day. I no longer have any difficulty bringing to mind my appreciation tribute. Yes, tribute! Writing, in more detail, my gratitude for the day is something I look forward to. I often go back a few pages and review the blessings I have been given and the people in my life who play such an important part in my joy.
The assignment is no longer that – not a task or chore or requirement for a class. Now, my gratitude journal is a beautiful tribute to those who cross my path each day and bestow upon me blessings to make my journey one of joy and peace and grace. Begin a gratitude journal…it may become one of your most prized possessions.