In the middle of last year, I set an intention to manifest a change in my life. I bought a small journal, and on the first page, I penned a letter to my future self, visualizing what I felt I needed to STOP and START doing in order to see that change come to fruition.
This practice of reflecting on paper quickly became habitual. It was also surprisingly therapeutic and nourishing: like exercise for my mind and food for my soul. I was excited that I’d discovered this new outlet to process the feelings of hope, frustration and fear that were constantly emerging because of this desire that I’d manifested.
When I experienced setbacks and slumps, the journal was a real lifesaver. I’d write to remind myself of my mother’s mantras, celebrate even the tiniest of ‘wins’, and acknowledge that the tension I was feeling was a good thing: because this tension – this ‘struggle,’ really – was a sign that I was striving for something better.
“All striving comes from lack, from a dissatisfaction with one’s condition, and is thus suffering as long as it is not satisfied; but no satisfaction is lasting; instead, it is only the beginning of a new striving. We see striving everywhere inhibited in many ways, struggling everywhere; and thus always suffering; there is no final goal of striving, and therefore no bounds or end to suffering.”Arthur Schopenhauer (German Philosopher), The World as Will and Representation, Vol. 1
Since that first future-self letter, I’ve continued to turn to my journal, not always every day but with decent regularity, to reflect on the things that I am grateful for – big and small. And when I don’t get to the journal (especially on the weekends when being fully available for my family takes precedent or laziness washes over me), I have fun just shouting out things I’m grateful for with my kids. Things like: “We love you TREES! We are grateful that you are here and you have leaves on you now that it is Spring. Thank you for being so green and beautiful!” that seem silly, but are true reflections of how we really feel and also help to fill our home with a lighthearted positivity that lasts until Monday.
Now I know that this whole gratitude practice / journaling thing is not for everyone. For instance, if you’re working through extremely painful or complex issues, expressing gratitude alone may not be a sufficient or satisfying solution – neither if you simply don’t enjoy writing, nor if you’re already where you want to be in life… you get the point. But if you’re working towards a clear goal and want to find more appreciation for, and enjoyment in the process of working towards that goal, then it doesn’t hurt to give it a try.
- Helpful Resource: I follow @commandinglife on Instagram because I like their inspirational daily quotes, but they also sell a daily inspirational journal that gives you the tools to get into the practice more easily.
So What Am I Grateful For?
I don’t plan on sharing everything that I’m grateful for everyday because for me it’s important that some things in life remain personal. Plus, I’m sure that you will get bored.
So sharing a summary of my week’s highlights on Fridays seems like a good place to start. I’m excited to see how it goes, and hope to hear from you on your week’s highlights as well.