My last post was about gratitude and its relationship to our happiness and abundance. If you’re like me, you can read a post like that and think, “Yea yea yea. That’s great. I’ll be more gratitudinal.” (Well, maybe you don’t make up words like I do, but you get the gist.)
I like to go beyond just the concept (i.e. creativity, gratitude, love, collusion, discipline, etc etc) and offer tools, so that you can get a sense of how the concept works in your everyday life. Until you practice and witness your own shifts and awakenings, none of this stuff makes much impact.
Which is why – when it comes to practicing gratitude – I encourage everyone to keep a gratitude journal. Even when I teach songwriting workshops, this is one of the tools I promote. Artists and creative types are prone to suspicion when any kind of forced happiness is beset upon them. Often, they have a finely tuned sense of the dark side, especially when it comes to their attitudes about their own lives. Gratitude journals can slowly and creatively turn this around. I’ve seen it time and time again.
To reiterate what I wrote yesterday, this is not about living in denial or being phony. What it is about is refining your focus. In other words, I encourage the sensitive and bright people in the world to refocus their sensitivity so that they are sensitive to the joy and the good things in their lives, and not just to how bad and painful things feel to them.
So, what is a gratitude journal?
A gratitude journal is a blank notebook where you write lists of things for which you are grateful. Every night, before you go to bed, you take about three minutes to write down a list of five things. (Or any do-able number.) Some days, you might be feeling particularly abundant, and those five things just fly onto the page. Some days, it might feel like you can’t think of even two things. That’s when you remember how amazing it is that you even have a roof over your head or food to eat. That’s when you remember your cat (again) and the fact that you have hot water for a bath. No matter what you’re feeling, you find time to write down these five things every single night without fail. And they don’t always have to be new and different.
What happens when you write in a gratitude journal every night?
My experience is that when I write out my I-am-grateful-for’s every night, I become more in tune throughout the next day. It’s like turning on an inner-switch that sets your awareness to look for material for your journal each night. So you might be driving out of your neighborhood in the morning, and catch the flash of a bluebird in the sunlight, and instead of blowing it off, you stop and notice it for a moment. You take it in. And you make a mental note to include that in your gratitude journal. Then, when you’re having lunch with a co-worker, she grabs the check and pays it. And not only do you thank her, but you make that mental note again. Your day becomes a basket where you collect things. It’s a private little game.
In essence, you become a gratitude magnet. And oddly enough, cool things start to find you. But you have to learn to be grateful now for all that is already.
Really try this one. In fact, try it for the month of December and see how the practice changes you. See if you don’t lighten up a little and call a few more goodies out into manifestation in your world.