Yeah, you heard me.
It sounds like fluffy bullshit, and believe me when I say that I never thought I was the kind of guy who’d keep a fricking “gratitude diary“.
I always thought it’s the sort of thing done by people who inhale cotton wool and vomit rainbows. The kind of people who hug trees and then make a tapestry depicting how much the tree changed them.
But I’m doing it for reasons that matter to me hugely.
I’ve been feeling remote from what’s good recently, and while I know what the good stuff is, I haven’t been feeling it.
Like something’s slipped from your memory that was there just a moment ago. You can see the space where it was and can check the inventory to see what it was, but it’s hard to really feel it, you know?
This, I think, is partly due to what I’ve been saying “No” to in an attempt to manage my illness, partly because of what my freelancing takes out of me and partly because I’m simply out of the habit.
So every morning since January began, as soon as I wake up I write down 3 things I’m grateful for, then at the end of the day, right before my head hits the pillow, I write down another 3 things that I’m grateful for.
I don’t repeat anything.
I’m doing this because I not only want to notice the simple and wonderful things around me again, but because I want to bring them closer to me.
And this is the thing with practising gratitude.
It’s not fluffy bullshit done by people with spines made of damp socks; it takes confidence to force yourself to open up to what’s right in front of you when your mind is telling you that you don’t need to.
It makes you look at things differently and do things differently.
And it creates new thinking, which in turn feeds new feelings, which leads to different actions.
It grows gratitude for what’s right here rather than longing for what isn’t
Feel free to lump me in with the gratitude-munching hippies, yoga teachers and unnerving kindergarten teachers if you want to.
But don’t dismiss being grateful as irrelevant clap-trap. It’s one of the most practical ways to make change happen that I know of.
How about giving it a shot too?
A few days ago my Dad broke his back – his L3 vertabrae is totally shattered, the fragments pressing against his spinal cord. He’s in pain, unable to move, frustrated as hell and wondering what’s going to happen next. The family are gathered around, and will continue to do so through the upcoming spinal surgery and beyond.
I originally wrote this post back at the start of January, but now, this gratitude thing seems more appropriate than ever.
You shouldn’t wait. Start now.