I am busy at the minute. Not horrendously so, but seeing as I haven’t been working for a few months & now I have a new job, life has inevitably changed pace and become a bit more hectic than I have been used to. This has two implications that relate to this blog:
1) I wanted to think of a theme that is simple & easy to keep up until I settle into my new routine a bit more – another mini-project to keep me going for a while.
2) I also wanted to have a focus for my posts that will provide an antidote to any stress that may (probably!) emerge while I adjust to feeling busier – a sort of anchor to steady me and keep me grounded in the joys of life.
My decision? It’s time to wheel out the good old ‘Gratitude List’ concept for a couple of weeks. Unless something stupendous happens that I want to particularly write about, between now and the end of January, my posts will be structured around a ‘gratitude list’. I’ve mentioned this idea in the past & it’s one that’s very popular in pop-psychology circles (Oprah Winfrey’s an advocate, as are numerous self-help books). I don’t know how scientifically valid it is, but it always seems to work for me. Put simply, each night you write down three things that you are grateful for that day (be they large or small, trivial or profound). You then re-read the list in the morning. The writing part is essential; it provides a clear record for yourself of what you were grateful for – handy in times of woe, when it’s difficult to think of anything good in your life. The more you do it, the more accustomed you become to noticing things to be grateful for – to the extent that I had to abandon my regular gratitude-listing as it took too long, running up sixty plus entries in a single day at times (I am a bit of an all-or-nothing person). In this case, I vow to stick to the prescribed three things limit, else it’ll defeat one of the aims of being short & simple to write.
So here goes, another mini-quest – who know where January’s journey will lead…
The Gratitude List Part I: Sunday 9th January 2011
Three periods of spiritual nourishment – a really strong sense of being restored and rejuvenated from within, while also sharing that moment with others.
Two sets of visitors – my original vision of a quiet, relaxing day was totally thrown out of the window, but I didn’t care as it was so lovely to see different family members and spend (cliche alert! cliche alert!) quality time with them. These visits are also the reason that I am writing Sunday’s list on Monday night; too much talking meant that the last vistor didn’t leave until gone midnight and by then, I was far too tired to write – not that I minded at all – in fact, that spontaneous ‘let’s stay up far too late talking’ moment convinced me that this quest was the right way to go, giving me a space in which to record such happenings.
One pair of new pants – oh the joys of new underwear! I opened my drawer on Sunday morning to be greeted by a pile of pants that were all new. Joy of joys! There are few consumer delights that thrill me more than new pants – and lots of them.
The Gratitude List Part II: Monday 10th January
Unfortunately, today’s items don’t fit as conveniently into their own ‘three, two, one’ order, but I am no less grateful to them because of that. In no particular order:
Getting water out of the tap. Guzzling down a glass of cold water this morning, I was suddenly confronted by the thought of how fortunate I am to be able to get water – as much as I could ever want or need, and clean water to boot – simply by turning a tap. It’s amazing, especially when you start to think about all the infrastructure and technology involved, yet we generally just take it for granted.
Making good progress on a work task that I was nervous about starting – the classic case of feeling apprehensive before beginning and worrying that you won’t be able to do it, then actually starting & finding that you’ve loads of ideas and it develops really well.
Knitting. I suspect this will feature regularly. Click, click, click, the sound of needles clacking together never fails to make me happy. I know I will still feel grateful for this in the morning. And the morning after. And the morning after. And I will feel even more grateful when this cardigan that I’m making is actually finished, but that’s another post altogther.