There have been a few different times in my life where I have found myself at the bottom of a deep, dark hole. A few of those dark times in my past, I have jumped on that “grateful journal” bandwagon in desperation to hoist myself out of the pit of despair. And guess what? That whole gratitude journal thing works.
The one downfall to this magical method is that when you are in that dark deep well, the last thing you want to do is plop down criss cross applesauce on the slimey, rank ground and start ticking off the blessings showering down on you. We like to wallow, or scream for someone to come and save us. I have been exploring some of my life adventures, like moving across the country, and lice, and humidity and surgery…things that recently had me wallowing in deep misery. While the idea of revisiting the gratitude journal popped into my depression-fogged brain once in a while, I would snicker at the very idea. Sunny skies and puffy clouds and giggles could not pull me from the shit hole I wallowed in, not this time. I resisted. I was saturated by my misery, consumed…depressed.
What I do know… gratitude is the life line. It’s simple. So simple, it is easy to angrily crush the idea between two fingertips. Wallowing in the muck is so much more…available. But the thing is, you can force yourself to start with just one tiny thing. And pretty soon, more tiny things appear. And then you will find yourself actively searching for those tiny things, until the collection of beautiful things becomes more consuming than the collection of miserable thoughts that keep your ass bound in the mire at the bottom of that hole. If you use those beautiful things to stand on, the hole will become shallow enough to climb out into the sunshine.
I write 5 things a day. They must be unique and they must be written. And I will share five things on sundays here on my blog. I am going to start this practice with my three children at home as well, and report how it goes to you all. I want my children to actively participate in collecting beauty and finding gratitude in their every day moments. Gratitude must be more than a concept I angrily throw at them when they whine on the way home from the movies.
This is a big commitment for me, because I live in a wasteland of chore charts and jars half filled with “reward marbles” and potty posters with just a few random stars stuck to it. I am abysmal at creating and consistently implementing great parenting ideas such as this…but since the gratitude journal concept has brought me from the darkest places into the lightest moments, and because I believe gratitude is essential to bliss, I will do this. Now. With my children. And, with you.
I invite you to join…do it yourself, in your own household, or just post a comment on sundays with one thing in your week you are grateful for, and see where it brings you!
For my inaugural Sunday of Gratitude, I will use pictures too. (A dangerous precedent).
An obvious one. I have no idea how I managed to turn this dude from a pen pal in my mailbox into a man willing to take on…ME for eternity, but it happened, and there is nothing more incredible on the planet than that.
So, do you all know about Azaleas?!?!?? I just lived my first spring in Connecticut, and you guys from other places, it was RIDICULOUS. I practically drove my car into a mailbox every time we went anywhere. No one in my family could finish a sentence without me gasping and pointing it out, in every yard. Look! Look! At the hot pink bush! That coral color! Oh LORD can you see that purple bush!? Sometimes, I would randomly have to pull over and take a picture, it was just too hard to zip on by. I still can’t get over it. Crazaaaay.
So, the last time Rick and I went into NYC, we finally made our way to the MOMA. Whoa. It was inspiring, and sometimes, a bit confusing. What is NOT confusing is my joy at seeing pantyhose being stapled to walls and filled with sand. This is a picture captures how I feel about pantyhose… I would rather be nailed to a wall than wear it. And, since I used to be mormon, I have done my share of suffering their sausage-like suffocation. I am truly grateful that I no longer own a pair of these wretched things, and I don’t feel the need to subject my little girls to this torture either. It is true freedom.
When my oldest daughter was cleaning out her backpack, I found this in a stack of papers. She had written it at school, not for an assignment, but just because she felt like it, she told me. It is framed and hanging above her bed now. I hope she eats these words for breakfast every day for the rest of her life. I am grateful that right now, her 9 year old self is captured in crayon, in the most breathtaking way imaginable.
This is a picture of a bookshop in NYC. I fell in love with this ceiling, and I stare at this picture as my wallpaper every day. I wish I could remember the name of the shop. But when I see these books, I am grateful for the sense that my spirit rises up to meet them, I can smell the pages of those books just looking at this picture, and let it fill my soul with a dream that is ever present within me.