Last week I pulled a new card from my Sacred Invitations card deck. . .
You might remember . . . last November, I was writing quite a bit about gratitude here on my blog. Specifically, I was talking about my efforts to notice, record, and acknowledge gratitude in my life.
Back in November, I did a lot of reading about the benefits of developing a regular gratitude "practice" and the power of writing gratitude lists (which I had done before -- but always on a rather hit-and-miss basis). I found a lot of quotes, I read some great essays, and I was more committed than ever to gratitude as a daily practice.
Although I'm a lifelong journal-er, I have never had much success in keeping a long-running, written gratitude list. While I think about the things I'm grateful for every day, I have never been particularly inspired to write them down in an actual list (and I have tried . . . many times).
But after all my research, I decided to give it a try again. I jump-started it by creating a more "artful" list in November. I used a piece of illustration board, and created a spiral of gratitude. I used my watercolor pencils and a water brush to "paint" it, and once I was finished with my list, I included some quotes and poems about gratitude on the margins.
It was fun and colorful and kept me interested and engaged . . . while focusing every day on gratitude.
But once the holidays were over, and the dark and dreary days of winter set in, I was - once again - less inspired. I continued to think about gratitude every day. I created daily lists in my head. I just couldn't quite figure out a way to be inspired about writing them down!
Since I had tried keeping special gratitude journals in the past - without much success (I think it was the structure that did me in) - I decided to try other options. First, I decided to just keep it simple by recording my gratitude list as part of my daily journal writing. (But I found I missed seeing my gratitude in its altogether-ness.)
Next, I tried a "gratitude jar" where I added a brief gratitude note each day. (But that felt cluttered and cumbersome to me. Besides, the jar always seemed to be in the way on my desk.)
Finally, I thought back to what I had liked so much about my November list. I wanted to figure out just what it was that had me looking forward to writing my list each day. And then I realized . . . it was the creativity and the COLOR!
And then . . . inspiration hit! Last year, Carole sent me a special journal with coloring doodles built right in to the pages. I decided to use that color journal to keep track of my daily gratitude lists -- using brightly colored ink.
So far, it's working! Now I look forward to grabbing my pens and my journal every day to jot down my lists -- and do a little color-doodling, too. And to avoid the structure problems that plagued me with gratitude journals in the past, I've decided not to date my lists, and to just let them flow without regard to a certain number of items. Some days I write long lists, and some days I write short lists.
But one thing is consistent: my gratitude lists are full of COLOR!
How about you? Do you keep a gratitude list? And if you do, what form do you keep it in?