I usually say a prayer each night. A shout-out to God, giving thanks before I pick up that book on the night stand or fall asleep.
After coming across a blog post about practicing gratitude via a writing exercise, however, I realized that most of my prayerful intentions wind up inside a psychic circular file. Inside a growing mass of space that gains gravitational pull with each passing year. You know, a mental black hole.
|I am grateful for pogo sticks, too.|
Bradley Foster's, "Change Your Life With This Simple Exercise," notes that "gratitude is a foundational strength. When you feel gratitude, a lot of other strengths can be built on top. For instance, the ability to love and be loved would be difficult, if not impossible, without gratitude." And, speaking to my (lack of) self-awareness and impact, "Perspective is a strength that is reinforced by using gratitude." While I'm not keen about feeling gratitude because perspective shows that there are others worse off, I do want a kick in the pants to show where I sit in the grand scheme of things and embrace what is important in life.
Foster recommends, "At the same time each day, get out your journal and reflect on three things that really stood out for you today."
He makes no bones that this will be easy, that I will be able to readily identify and reflect on things. Stick with it, he says, and I will be amazed how writing down what I'm thankful for changes actual behavior. Sold! I started this exercise in earnest. And, like practicing yoga or swearing off profanity, some days are better than others:
1. Family and friends
2. Flowers in the garden
3. Time to run a few miles and clear my head
1. Having family close by
2. Beautiful thunder showers
3. Meaningful work
1. That my head does not unscrew and fly off under stress
2. That I don't run into the street screaming
3. That I have a house
So, yeah, this is hard and it is not passive, either. I must constantly reflect on what I've written and act on it. A work in progress.
Part 2 of 2:
Some days are so easy, yet many are hard as hell once I lose the basics, get distracted by self-pity or envy. And then I saw something from my office window that I'm still processing. To be continued...