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Week 1: Begin. Begin Again. Begin Always.

gratitude journal

Hello, my lovelies! Were you wondering if I had forgotten about you and our plan to start a reVolution not a resolution? There is a method to my madness. As I said from the get-go, this is not a resolution that you make and, once you break, you give up until the next year. No, no. This is a daily decision. And I wanted to wait until we were a few days into this new year — past all the potential, “This feels like a resolution,” questions. Plus, I like the idea of a Monday post to jumpstart our week as we go. So expect Mondays to be the day you’ll see some new Cravings Tribe-ReVolution posts going up. There may be others along the way as well. Stay tuned…

So here we are in Week 1 of our daily efforts to journey inward and discover our true selves and create transformation along the way. If you missed the first post on this, you can find it HERE. It will tell you what to pack for this journey (hint: If you have a spiral notebook, you’re pretty much good to go. The rest can be collected along the way.) The one “requirement,” and I use that term loosely, is a gratitude journal, because, trust me, it is such an easy way to begin to shift our attitude, and it’s really nice to be able to go back and look at all the blessings in our lives rather than journals filled with angst and woe. So today I thought I would start with that basic daily activity: gratitude journaling.

What does it look like? Whatever you want it to look like. Seriously. You can buy yourself the most beautiful leather journal with homemade paper; you can use a 10-cent spiral notebook picked up at last year’s back-to-school sale; you can even use a great big mason jar or some other container and squares of brightly colored paper. So many options!

Okay, now that we’ve got the actual journal, what do we do? Well, there are lots of ways you can choose to do this, but I’ll tell you my way, which is quick and so easy I (almost) never say, “Nah, I don’t have time.” Every night before I climb into bed, I take the spiral journal from my nightstand and date the entry. Then I write down three things from that day that I count among my blessings. (I number them consecutively so I can see them adding up over the months. It’s a banner day when I hit 1,000 or even 2,000 in a single journal, which I did back in December.) Sometimes the entries are so simple (the smell of coffee brewing in the morning) and other times sublime (someone getting a good diagnosis). Most days it’s somewhere in between. Once you start this practice, you’ll find yourself noticing things as you go about your day and thinking, “Oh, I can’t forget to write that down tonight.” Of course, you can always jot down those blessings as you go — on your phone, in a planner, whatever is handy. When I do notice something like that and I’m not near my journal, I often speak the blessing or happy moment out loud to memorialize it in some way. It makes it more real (and less likely I’ll forget it when I get to bedtime).

Here’s a sample from my own journal on Jan. 30, 2019:

  • A plane, lights blinking, cutting across the night sky
  • Two crows circling overhead gracefully in the morning
  • Watching Chiara compete on bars

And here is a day’s entry pulled from the archives from that same date in 2006 (told you I’ve been doing this sort of thing for a while):

  • For the dark, stark winter landscape of my backyard against the white night snow
  • Watching “Magic School Bus” with Noah this afternoon
  • For my home

So, today, this week, try to seek out the beauty and blessings around you, the miracles in your midst. Did something make you smile? Did something touch your heart? Did you just look out into your yard or across a room and spy something that made you happy or made you feel grateful. Write it down. The best part of this is that you don’t have to be a writer or a poet or a meditator or any of those potentially scary things. You just need a pen, a piece of paper and the willingness to notice the world around you in a more intentional way.

Try to go through your days with attention and INtention. This is the first step to reVolution, evolution, transformation and joy. Join me. And, if you’d like, share your experiences with this practice in the comment section. If you miss a day or two or ten, just pick it up and begin again. Always be willing to begin again. You don’t have to wait for a magical date on the calendar. Every day is an opportunity to start over. And isn’t that something to write down in a gratitude journal!

If you keep at this practice, it will slowly change how you see the world around you, and it really will make you more grateful for everything in your life, less likely to complain about the little annoyances, and more compassionate to the people around you. It doesn’t happen all at once, but little by little, day by day, year by year. Just begin and see what happens. If you write down three things every day, you will surpass 1,000 blessings in a year.

I’ve been writing about gratitude journaling for years (decades?), so if you’d like to read some of my previous stories and posts on this, you can start HERE

I hope to podcast on this topic later this week. I’ll be sure to share that recording if/when that happens.

Thank you for joining me on this journey. Remember to begin again each day. There is no start date, no end date, no “goal” you have to hit. Just begin. And then begin again.

Peace and Love,
Mary

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  1. Thank you, Mary, for this post. Like you and many others, I started journaling many years ago with a gratitude journal. Once, I even numbered my list, but only to 100, not 1000! Nevertheless, I took your suggestion during Advent of writing my gratitude on slips of paper and putting them in a large basket. Yesterday, I posted to my blog excerpts from my gratitude list. I gave you credit for the idea! I omitted people’s names from the post. If you are curious about my own list, you can find it at http://www.reflectionsfrommylanai.wordpress.com.
    Blessings for the new year,
    Doris

    January 5, 2021

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