Sometimes Mondays
Unraveling . . . Life

The Color of Gratitude

Last week I pulled a new card from my Sacred Invitations card deck. . . 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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How about you?  Do you keep a gratitude list?  And if you do, what form do you keep it in?

 

Comments

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Bonny

I often associate you with "color", whether it's in the form of flowers, watercolors, or your gorgeous gratitude spiral, and it looks like you've found the perfect way to bring even more beautiful color and gratitude into your world! That journal is so lovely, I can see why you would be compelled to write and doodle in it, in COLOR!

AsKatKnits

I love this and I think it is brilliant! And, I agree...some days the gratitude is effortless, but others the struggle is real. Is it that I am not grateful? In all honesty, I must admit that yes that is the case. However, I have found that finding gratitude is much easier with my daily stitching. With a needle and thread I can even find gratitude in the most miserable of days.

Patty

That spiral is so gorgeous! I'm not having much thinking / considering / productive use of time these days. :-( It seems like getting a work-out in, going to work and wrapping up the evening are all I've got these days. I'm blaming Mother Nature...she's been a crabby one this year. I do carry the journal around though and still make a conscious effort each and every day to remain positive and grateful for all I've got.

Carole

I'm so glad that journal has given you a way to record your gratitude list

Lora

The paper planner I use comes with a perpetual calendar every year, the kind that you would probably use to keep track of birthdays and anniversaries. After the first year, when I filled in all the birthdays and anniversaries, I didn’t have a need for another calendar but one comes with my planner whether you really want it or not. So I turned it into a gratitude journal. There’s one line per day which I like because I don’t feel so pressured to fill up a large space. I’ve missed a few days but it’s been helpful in prompting me to remember something good every day, even if some days the only thing I can come up with is “it didn’t rain today”. (I live in Seattle...no rain is cause for celebration...lol)

Mary

I believe wholeheartedly in the power of gratitude list making - I love the way you made the practice yours! I write my lists every morning at the end of my journaling time and they're incorporated into my journal - I like having all my "thoughts" in just one place for the day. ...but that's what works for me :-)

Honore´

Brilliant! Colorful! Wonderfully inspirational. And as Mary sez: definitely yours! I include gratitude thoughts and statements in my daily journaling and have been toying with the idea of also keeping a monthly calendar 2 page spread for gathering a gratitude thought... love also the idea of your mandala approach...and for sure: adding color makes it!
Cheers~

margene

Bonny is right, you are a color person. Your November gratitude list is a wonderful piece of art. Your idea of using color daily to create a list and enjoy the process of "colorful" words is just the ticket. I write a gratitude list sporadically, but constantly say throughout the day, "I am grateful for this very moment." I have never opined on gratitude as often as I have the last few months.

Debbie

Your gratitude spiral is beautiful, what a treasure you have in it! I am sporadic with writing gratitude lists and recently have been trying a daily assessment of consciousness, a mindfulness exercise to help me focus on looking at what I am grateful for, missed opportunities, and make a daily resolution.

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