I love writing in a gratitude journal. Something about acknowledging all I am thankful for keeps my spirits up and as the saying goes “turns what I have into enough!” For years, I’ve been happily habitual with my journal. Sometimes ten grateful nuggets flow out onto the pages, some days, I write only a blurb. The key to a gratitude journal is consistency. The more you thank about, the more you bring about. So you may wonder, why Neen, why would you ignore your gratitude journal when it brings you joy?
I’ll get to this in a moment. First, let me tell you the what before the why. With gratitude on the backburner, my life went to shit. As the days of not writing went on, my car looked older, my wrinkles were deeper and my kids seemed more ungrateful. I looked at myself and scowled. I got angry quickly and started having feelings of resentment and jealously toward anyone and everything. Bye grace, adios gratitude. Hello ego and bitterness! Welcome to the shit show!
At first I didn’t make the connection between my lack of journaling and my bad attitude. I was just bitchy and chalked it up to back to school blues. At the beginning of August, I began a tiny spiral into a mini freak-out stemmed from a situation with one of my kiddos. I was in a brand new teenage parenting dilemma and I didn’t know how to handle it. Said dilemma hit all my emotional triggers: fear, anxiety, control, OH MY! All turned out well (I promise to blog about it – still too soon,) but the situation left me a bit raw and scattered.
So, I got lazy. I skipped my journal one day. Then skipped meditation the next. Just like I can never stop with only a handful of Cape Cod Sea Salt Potato Chips, the lazy ass in me couldn’t stop blowing off the life strategies (meditation, journaling, setting daily intentions, reading good books) that really make a difference. I justified my lack of journaling by making excuses. “I have to plan for vacation. I have to get the kids ready for school. I need to get geared up to go back to work. I’m too damn busy. I’m so tired” And on I went.
One day, when walking with a dear friend, I realized I wasn’t even listening to her talk. I was silently bitching about my feet and wondering what I was going to make for dinner. I didn’t feel like myself. I wasn’t acting like myself. I love walking, especially with friends, and my attitude was making a pleasant activity kind of suckie.
My chest started to tighten when I go home. Crying frustrated tears, I sat in my family room, petting my sweet dog asking what the fuck was going on with me. She smelled bad and I thought “UGH, now I have to get you to the groomer!” In that moment, I noted my behavior during those weeks. I recalled I’d cancelled plans with a few friends, didn’t respond to a couple of texts. Then, my dog licked my face with one of those long, wet, sloppy kisses she somehow sneaks in when I’m not paying attention. And it hit me. Or rather, licked me: I’m acting ungrateful.
My new, snarky, grumpy and poor me attitude felt awful. Nothing changed in my life to cause this. Same people, same house, same general way of living. I chose to stop writing in my gratitude journal which lead me slowly down a path of living without intention. I know, for me, for sure, when I live with intention, my life is a really great place to be. Crappy situations come and go, but overall I am content and present. Without intention and gratitude, I let the crap and negative thoughts take up residence inside my head instead.
Once (thanks to my sloppy kissing dog) I became aware of how and what I was thinking and behaving, I knew I loathed it. I felt horrible emotionally and physically. I took some deep breaths and grabbed my journal. I forced myself to start writing. I didn’t want to. I was getting pretty cozy with snark and sass and tried to make excuses not to write. But I stayed the course begrudgingly. I wrote more. I filled up two pages with gratitude. I couldn’t believe how much better I felt.
Sadly, though, my negative thinking created a build up of sludge. If you start binge eating sea salt potato chips for weeks (at least at my age,) one workout doesn’t get rid of the bloat! So I began again, one entry a day. Every morning I set an intention for gratitude and grace. It’s been a bumpy start. I trip, but I am refusing to bitch about it. I have some thoughts I’m not proud of, but I won’t beat myself up about them.
Writing every day in a gratitude journal is a game changer. The more I think about, acknowledge and WRITE about what I am grateful for, the more of the same I draw into my life. Think about what you are lacking? You get more LACK. Think about all you DO have? You get more in return. Living a life of gratitude takes practice, time and intention. Some days it comes easy, some days it’s a challenge. The key is to keep on doing it, regardless of if you want to or not.
Slowly, overall, I feel a shift in my thinking, back to a consciousness of hope and abundance. Back to seeing the good first instead of the bad. Back to seeing my daughter’s joy and giddiness first, instead of her snark and moodiness. Back to knowing I am where I need to be instead of questioning why I am where I am. Back to living my life with intention, falling down and getting up instead of curling up there on the ground clutching my Cape Cod chips.
Do you write in a gratitude journal? What are some of the things you write in it on your best days? Your worst days? Leave me a comment and let me know!
If you liked reading this post, you may enjoy this as well: Want to change your day? Set an Intention.
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