Lately, I haven’t been able to journal. I just can’t. It’s as if the ability to just freely write has been taken away from me. My journal just sits there, collecting dust. But I can’t write. My thoughts don’t feel safe.
I have been writing here though. And oddly enough – it’s coming out in the form of poetry. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve written poetry since high school. I had a scary experience that left me all kinds of traumatized and so I wrote poetry about it. It’s how I coped. I suppose it makes a little bit of sense that I’ve been bitten by the poetry bug again. I’m going through a rather distressing phase and apparently that’s my poetry trigger. Who knew. *shrugs*
So apologies in advance for corny rhymes, awful phrasing and the jumbled mess that is my poetry.
Recently, I heard Katrina Kittle – another favorite of mine – speak about her reasons to be happy and how we can’t function when our life cup is perpetually empty. That it’s our responsibility to take time to fill that cup. Writing fills my cup. I love to write – both on my blog and journal. I used to journal ALL THE TIME. But when I was younger that was ruined for me…
I have foreign parents. And as if the language and cultural barrier weren’t enough – they had me a little later than planned so they are 40+ years my senior. My mother and I particularly didn’t get a long. It’s as if we were on different planets all together. During my teenage years especially she just assumed she knew everything. However, that’s neither here nor there. The past makes us who we are. Right?
One faithful day I came home from school – I believe I was a sophomore in high school at the time – and walked in to see bags and bags full of shredded paper. For a moment – I didn’t really think much of it. It wasn’t until I noticed the cover of my favorite butterfly journal that I realized what I was looking at. They were my journals!!! Seven years worth of journals – twelve complete journals to be exact – all shredded up into nothing. From that day on journaling was hard for me. It didn’t feel safe anymore. Since then I’ve tried to get back into the habit but there is this constant underlying fear that I will lose it all over again. Since then – I’ve managed to write sporadically. But it dawned on me today that enough is enough. I have to stop letting the past haunt me and lay it to rest. My past is full of other horrible things that I have managed to overcome but this… this is still hanging around.
Sidebar: This also might be why I have subconsciously broken nearly every paper shredder I have ever owned.
I feel like gratitude is missing from our day-to-day. Similar to how common sense is not so common anymore [this will need to be an entirely new post]. Don’t get me wrong – I’m just as guilty as the next person. We get so caught up in what’s wrong that we fail to see what’s right. Or we are just too busy and on the go all the time. We forget to show thanks and return favors. I’ve decided that I want to make gratitude more important in my life. It’s about good juju. My family and I have been blessed so, so many ways that it’s hard to not want to show appreciation, to return that kindness, to show it to someone else, to continue the flow of good karma.
Naturally – I turned to the Googler for advice. I found that there are all kinds of awesome tools to help! I like that idea of journalling my gratitude. I’ve been journaling for as long as I can remember so I feel like this is just in my nature. I like the old school pen to paper approach however find what works for you! Electronic journals, blogs, or even apps! Gratitude is a private mobile app that allows you to write five positive things in your life daily. And it’s completely private – BONUS! There are milestones and rewards as you go. Pretty nifty! I might give this one a try if pen and paper fail me.
I also found that there are lots of guides to gratitude – like Unstuck. Unstuck is a digital coach that helps you focus on positive things in you life and not those that have you stuck. While browsing their site I found 9 Ways to Cultivate Gratitude – which I thought offered some pretty helpful tips. They have tons more this was just one that stood out to me.
Lastly I found The Gratitude Jar – an awesome site that lets you share you gratitude with the inter webs. You can browse by location or tag and see what others around you are grateful for. I read through several pages. Really provides some perspective, if I do say so myself. I have something kind of similar to this on my nightstand called a Happiness Jar that I learned from one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Gilbert. She explains it here but you essentially write down the happiest moment of your day, each day and put it a jar, basket or whatever you want. I use different color post-it notes so it’s very bright and fun to have right by my bed. I am not as good as I should be about doing this daily. I find that I do it a lot when I have epic parenting moments. Apparently that’s often when I’m the happiest. 🙂
Frankly – I think we all struggle with this process. Even Oprah does and she’s super human! Life gets the best of us and we lose sight of what’s important. This just means we need to refocus. Just know that you are not the only one. My goal is to incorporate gratitude into my life daily. I’ll start with a daily journal – a few bullets a day – and go from there. One day at a time. I think that’s doable.