About a decade ago a friend happened on a book that talked about recognizing good things. Sarah Ban Breathnach’s “Simple Abundance” advised readers to get a blank notebook and start a GRATITUDE JOURNAL. Each day, no matter what has transpired, you need to end the day by listing FIVE things you are grateful for. I remember that long-ago journal of mine started with basic, tangible things like a roof over my head shared with my Mom, a car to get me places, food on the table, etc. As the journal continued, not wanting to list the same basic things, I looked harder for things in that particular day that were special. A thank you card from a reader, a brilliant sunshine, the lilac bushes blooming… gifts of nature…of God… that made me feel good. Once you open your conscious mind to the subconscious reactions to life’s pleasures, you find yourself looking for more. Soon, you realize they were there all along, but once acknowledged they take center stage.
That journal went by the wayside; I don’t even remember when. Years of good things and bad things along life’s highway are relinquished to memory and pulled out at odd times to savor, or regret, yet again. I don’t know exactly when my balance scale starting tipping from optimism to pessimism, but this last year found me spending far too much precious energy worrying about things I could not change and things that should not matter. It’s easy to get caught up in the negative things and a year of political wrangling and a failing economy sure helped. In short, I became way too crabby and cranky for my own good… or the good of those around me. So now, the bad luck year of 2008 is over and the bad habits need to go out as well. If ever I needed a Gratitude Journal, the time is now.
Interestingly enough, the notebook I started my new 2009 journal in is decorated with a smiling female cartoon and the words “Drama Queen.” Yep, that’s me all right. Drama is my middle name. It’s good to be a rainbow in a beige world only if the colors you are exuding are pleasing to those around you. Thankfully, I am blessed with friends who traveled the rocky year with me and loved me in spite of my walk on the dark side. I owe it to them to become a cheerful friend and companion again.
Growing old is inevitable. Growing old, bitter and crabby is optional. I think of the people around me, friends who are ten, twenty or nearly thirty years older than me and still sparkling! I want to sparkle again! And so, I am determined to adjust my attitude with a heavy dose of gratitude for what’s good in life. The rest doen’t matter.
Yes, God, I am grateful. I am blessed in many ways by many people and experiences that bring sunshine into my life. Help me to turn on my own ray to light the way for others.