G is for...Gratitude
This is probably the one theme that you will find in every single book about journals and journal writing. But what does it truly mean to be grateful? Is it a list of the things we own (eg. house), the things we are (eg. healthy), the situations we find ourselves in (eg. employed)? Or can there be more than just a list we should be contemplating in our journal entry today?
Would there be a universe if I were not here to appreciate it?
In his course work book, The Journal-Writer's Guide to Staying Started, Nathan Ohren posed the question: Would there be a universe if I were not here to appreciate it? (quoted from page 22)
I'll bet that unless you have done Nathan's course, this would be one question that you would never have thought to write about. It is a philosophical question that you might like to debate with yourself, but there is a fundamental concept hidden in the words of the question - if we live a life of gratitude, it will influence the world around us.
Change yourself, change your world
I am sure you have noticed how people tend to avoid someone who is constantly complaining or always negative about the world around them. The opposite is also true - people are drawn to someone who has a more positive attitude towards life.
Set yourself a challenge for one week: be more mindful of the world and the people around you. Appreciate the beauty of the natural world. Be more grateful towards people who cross your path, especially in the small things that they do. Even something as small as a smile when they greet you in the morning.
Note in your journal how you experience the changes in yourself and the reaction you receive from others. Don't be fake in your approach, people will pick up on that and be distrustful of your intentions. You will also hamper your journey towards happiness if you do.
Be honest in your actions. And share with others (if you want) on how living and being more grateful changed your perspective.
At the end of the week, note in your journal the difference in the list of things that you are grateful for before and after the week.
My change, my world
I have a stressful job, and for years my relaxation time was focused on my writing. At some point I found that writing as an outlet was no longer enough - I needed more.
I have often mentioned that my husband, Francois, is an amazing photographer and I find a lot of pleasure in the way he captures the natural world and the people in it.
As he developed his skills with a camera, I realised that I too could do the same, but through visual art, not a camera.
Is my gratitude centred around my talent (still developing) as an artist, or in the subject matter that I want to capture on paper or canvas?
While I am grateful for my talent, I find the ability in myself and others to showcase our world in art to be the primary source of my appreciation. I don't have to express my gratitude in words, and upon occasion, I find that even with an extensive vocabulary, that there are no words. In those cases I let my pencil and paintbrush do the talking for me.
In doing so, my view of the world around me has changed too. It is not the change alone that I am grateful for. The way my eyes were opened to appreciate the talents of others, the beauty of my country and the smiles on people's faces when they too 'see' what might have been an unnoticeable thing before, has been humbling.
And to you, thank you...
I am guilty of not saying it often enough - thank you. To you my readers, my blog visitors, and followers: thank you for spending the time to read this post. Your time is valuable and these few minutes spent with me is truly appreciated.
Note: the A to Z Challenge will continue on Monday, although you can see what my posts for the next 6 letters of the alphabet will be about tomorrow. I hope you will join me then!