Sunday, January 21, 2007

Hoarding Gratitude...

Every now and then, there are books that reach out, grab you and speak to you deep in the core of your being. I am experiencing that on 2 levels right now...

The first is in watching Erin discover Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising sequence that so enchanted me as a young girl and having the pleasure of rereading it myself. What fun to totally soak myself in wonderful fantasy about good vs. evil, dark vs. light and being heroic when times are tough. This kind of classic literature never goes out of style and is timeless enough that my own children can read it over 30 years after I did!

The second is exploring the many thoughts that I have while reading my Christmas present from my sister. Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnatch was first written over 10 years ago as a daily meditation/day book. It is perfect for women who feel overwhelmed, unsure of where to head next, in transition, in crisis or frustrated at the sense of chaos that our world sends our way with its “have it all, get it all, do it all, need it all” mentality. As the title suggests, the book helps the reader look at all they have, how to find serenity in having less and how to live more joyfully and gratefully than they were before. Since I read back over some of my posts from last year and noticed that when times were tough, I sometimes tended to get a bit whiny, I think this book may be perfect for me!

One of the tasks that I have enjoyed most from the book so far is the creation of a Gratitude Journal. Anyone who’s ever watched Oprah or listened to some popular motivational speakers will be familiar with the concept of ending each day counting the blessings that it had contained and writing down a set number of them into a journal... I certainly was. What I was not prepared for was the incredible difference it has made in my ability to fall asleep with gratitude instead of anxiety. I am thinking thankfully about what has gone right in the day that has just ended instead of making mental notes to myself about all the things that I need to accomplish the following day. Not that I am skipping around in a daze of non-productivity... in fact another book that my sister sent me is making a HUGE difference in that area as well, but that will be a whole other blog entry.

I am discovering the pleasure of hoarding gratitude. Just picture a dragon curled around a treasure of little glistening, translucent bubbles and sparkling crystals of wonderful memories or special events. Not gems or jewelry that might be stolen by some pesky knight, but precious wisps of things intangible...

I knew that I had a journal in my box of blanks that was perfect for this project because it was covered with little smiling hippos. I had given it to my grandmother about 14 years ago for Christmas and my Mom returned it to me a year or so ago when she found it while tidying out my grandfather’s house. I thought it was completely blank and so did my Mom who glanced through it quickly before sending it to me. Imagine my surprise, delight and slight twinge of sadness when I opened the first page to begin and found two brief entries from her written a few years before her death in October of 2000! Now I think of her each time I sit down at night to write my gratitude list before bed. Since she so often lived this type of simple abundant life and spoke kindly in almost every circumstance... it is wonderfully appropriate that she share those pages with me...

I am grateful for all the wonderful memories I have of her in my life!

1 comment:

Pam B said...

I learned about being grateful for what you have the hard way. Hubby had his first heart attack in February of 2005. When he woke up from surgery and I was there I decided then and there that I was never taking simple things for granted again. My two teen boys have picked this up from me in the last year and a half also and their teachers are always amazed at how deep and happy they seem to be no matter what happens. I only can hope that they keep this attitude when they become adults and the world starts rushing in.