One writing practice I did keep up in the last year was a weekly email to a friend. We had started writing every Sunday as a check-in, accountability email, and understanding the power of gratitude; we always ended each email with a short (3-5 item) gratitude list for that week.
If I review the 52 emails I sent last year, there are many repeats in my list. I am often grateful for working at home, my friends’ and family’s health, and a regular paycheck. I don’t take for granted that others have had it much more difficult during the last year than I have.
Writing these weekly short gratitude lists meant that I was more in tune with the small details of the ordinary day. And I was consciously aware of the abundance in my life even though we were living through a time I could never have imagined.
Many say that gratitude journaling is good for your health, it will allow you to sleep better or reduce stress.
But for me, it was stretching my writing muscle to find something new or to be grateful for each week. Or to look for the details in something I often take for granted. That’s the poetic part of it for me, many of the poems I write begin in gratitude. Gratitude for a moment, a place, nature, or for the ability to look at something ordinary in another way. Below a Basho spring haiku. *ume: A Japanese apricot(plum).
Gratitude journaling is not for everyone. For some, it feels forced or phony, or uninspiring. I am also not surprised to read that this practice of gratitude can backfire for some people. I can see how a daily practice of journaling gratitude could be a negative depending on where you are in your life.
But as a prompt, starting simply with I am grateful for…can wake up your writing brain.
Now get back to work!