Time flies. So do we – often from one activity to another all day and evening until we go to sleep. However, we can explore various practices to slow ourselves down and to let in the meaning and value of our activities, thus deepening our stream of experiences.
One easy and enjoyable practice is stopping near the end of each day to reflect on the gifts we have received that day. More specifically, we can sit somewhere comfortable, close our eyes, and bring to mind three experiences for which we are grateful. Then write them down in a journal – in phrases, sentences or paragraphs. Every once in a while, review some of our entries that will bring smiles to our face and remind us of the scope of gifts that form so much of each day.
Devotion to such a practice is not meant to ignore, discount or deny painful experiences, but to affirm our gratitude for each day’s gifts. In fact, it can help balance a propensity to focus too much on negative news and personal frustration and disappointment.
Before writing this posting, we reviewed some such journal entries one of us wrote several years ago. They were diverse, delightful, often touching, and always the source of renewed gratitude. Some examples:
– Delicious plum, cherries and homemade biscotti for dessert.
– Captured by camera some aligned and abundant pink rhododendrum and purple rose blossoms lit up by the sun in our garden.
– Successful and harmonious business negotiation on the phone.
– Inspired by television story of Venezuela’s orchestra program for young people who are poor.
– First time dinner at new restaurant with superb dishes. Asked waitperson to tell chef we enjoyed the best artichoke ever, and he responded, “Gladly, because our chef has been having a bad evening.”
– Somehow manipulated our garden fountain to flow into a 360-degree spillover that can be happily heard inside our entire house.
Needless to say, the contents of your gratitude journal would be unique to your daily experiences. This is one practice for regularly reflecting on daily experiences that can evoke gratitude, in the writing and later. If you don’t have your own way to focus on the gifts of each day, think about how you might want to do so, and then give it a try. It can become a gift to yourself that will keep on giving.