Reflections on Gratitude Lists
The journalling of gratitude turned out to be quite an interesting exercise yesterday. Watching my daughters applying their minds and coming up with unexpected entries in their lists was uplifting. Getting feedback from friends about how surprised they were at the effort it took to compile the list was also encouraging. Some found it difficult to compile the list without judging themselves for being ungrateful in the process, while forgetting that their effort to reflect on it confirmed their inclination towards gratitude instead. Sometimes we’re so accustomed to being judged harshly by others that we find it difficult to see ourselves any differently.
Some of the entries from my kids gave me reason for pause, especially when it related to something that I do as a matter of course and assume that its impact is inconsequential. It is gaining insights into such contributions that could easily give us purpose and cause for gratitude when we find ourselves wondering what is the point of it all. This is especially true for parenting.
Day 3: Take a walk outdoors
This sounds like another simple task, but it offers so much to be grateful for. If you live in a dodgy neighbourhood, get a friend or neighbour to join you on this task. Or even just take a few more minutes to indulge whatever outdoor access you might have from your house or apartment.
One of the things I enjoy doing from time to time is walking bare feet on lawn. Its therapeutic benefits are many, not least of all grounding you physically (pardon the pun), and offering so many moments of naturally beautiful distractions. Those of you that have been following my blog for a while now will know how fascinated I am with urban wildlife, both fauna and flora.
When taking your walk, stop to take a closer look at what you find on your path. If you’re in a concrete jungle, let the sights and scents of your neighbourhood sink a little deeper. Notice what is familiar that you wake up to every morning and consider how that tiny detail might actually be a poignant moment in your day that makes that place feel homely, or at least welcoming.
And if you don’t feel either of those attachments to your neighbourhood, maybe this is a good opportunity to find one, and even add it to your list of things to be grateful for.
I’m often reminded that there is nothing so bad that there is no good in it. Finding that goodness in the midst of gloom is what separates a grateful heart from an ungrateful one. Or to steal the current trends in psycho-babble, it is the difference between a growth mindset and a fixed one.
There is always room for wonderment and awe in nature. If you don’t have easy access to natural surroundings, maybe today is a good day to drive out or travel to your nearest public park, or get just outside the city limits and enjoy the view of the horizon from the side of the road. Or even just a closer look at the rebellious weed creeping out of the concrete sidewalk.
Inspiration is everywhere. It all depends on what we wish to take from the circumstances that we find ourselves in. If nothing else, I hope that even just the act of contemplating your walk outdoors is reason for pause, and a mental exhale.