The Gratitude Journal.

"I wrote an essay in second grade, entitled "Being Greatful." I mis-spelled grateful and I was reprimanded, but I now believe we become great in proportion to how grateful we are. You receive vitality and comfort every time you are grateful"

                                                                                       Alexandra Stoddard.

I want to be great. But more than that, I want to recognise  all the tiny little moments of contentment I hardly notice. The tiny little moments that make life worth living, dissolve the disappointments, and gently blow away my personal pain.

I go through life moaning. Not because I've got a lot to moan about, but mostly because I like the sound of my own voice. To listen to me, you would think I had the world on my shoulders when the truth is that I have been practising the gratitude habit for such a long time now I know there is very little truth in my mournful wail.  So ignore me.

My gratitude journal helps me put my troubles into perspective. I look back and I see that not only have I got through any number of days I have secretly dreaded, but that those days were filled with good things, new ideas, memories made and occasionally,  moments that made me laugh till I cried. Without the journal those tiny things would have been forgotten.

I don't write in it every day. I know Sarah Ban Breathnach says we should note five things we are grateful for every day, but try as I might, there are days when I have neither the time, energy or motivation to do so. Don't tell Sarah, but there are even days when I don't feel  very grateful at all. But no matter. While I might worship at Sarah's feet, I am a slave to nothing, and life's to short to beat myself up about forgetting to keep a journal! Megan at Divine Reality agrees:

"I Give Myself a Break & Kudos for a Job Well Done!
I began the Gratitude Journal with fervor, but like most things it has tended to be forgotten. Instead of forcing myself to write every night, I leave it by my bedside and write what I'm grateful for whenever the mood hits me. Simple Abundance has taught me to be good to myself and to not feel bad when I don't write every day but instead cheer myself on when I do find the motivation to do so."

So about the journal itself: Over the years I have tried various ways, types of notebook, and even bought the Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude, but I have finally come up with a journal that works for me. Namely an A4 , ludicrously pretty notepad, into which I have glued coloured envelopes to hold articles and letters I do not want to stick to the page.

In this book, I have made a master list of things I am grateful for, just because they exist. I have put letters from friends in the coloured envelopes, photographs of my babba, my house, my Mom and Dad,  and even pictures of me on days when I am looking nothing short of fantastic (which doesn't happen very often!), evidence of my achievements through the years like letters, certificates, and newspaper cuttings, and images cut from magazines of favorite things and people . It is, in short, an illustrated journal of my life: not the life I want (that is in my Discovery journal), but the life I have, a life jam packed with a million and one things to be grateful for, to remind me to feel calm, and contented when all around me is chaos.

It is a haphazard affair. There is no order. I write wherever I feel like, on any page, sometimes in the kind of scrawl only I can decipher. I stick things in willy nilly and never worry what it looks like. No-one is judging me. My journal is just that: mine. There to remind me that I am OK, that my life is as lovely as I am capable of making it and that there is a rhythm to the ups and downs of my life guaranteed to repeat itself into eternity.

And for that I give thanks.

What are you grateful for?