Nurturing Thursday 27

Years ago, when my life was in turmoil, a good friend advised me to write down at least three things I was thankful for, every day.

I was puzzled. How could this simple act dent the mountain of problems overwhelming me? And I admit I viewed this suggestion as yet another onerous chore ~ could she not she see that my plate was overloaded with much more urgent matters? That I couldn’t spare the time or the energy to stop worrying and think of fluffy pink clouds, even for a couple of minutes.

But she was insistent.

‘If you have clothes on your back, food on your table and a roof over your head, you are richer than two thirds of the World’s population,’ she pointed out, ‘there’s your first three ‘gratitudes’, right there. Just give it a go ~ if I’m wrong, you can always stop.’

I was sceptical ~ but had nothing to lose and love hand~writing. So I purchased a fancy little note~book, picked up a purple pen and made a start. Even though I didn’t understand why ~ sometimes all you can do is put one foot in front of the other.

At first, when life looked bleak, I struggled. I couldn’t keep repeating the same things every day and my mind was filled with ‘yes…..buts.’ I resented being hauled out of my ~ strangely comforting ~ misery and forced to count my blessings, particularly on ‘bad’ days. When I complained, my friend told me that these were the times when I most needed to shift my focus. So I plodded on, being grateful for the tiniest improvement in my situation.

And my friend was right. I gradually began to feel more hopeful. Then came the day when jotted down seventeen different things and felt genuine happiness bubbling up inside me ~ despite the issues I still had to deal with.

It worked for me ~ so well that I’ve fallen out of the habit. I verbally celebrate my good fortune all the time: commenting on the magnificence of nature, thanking others for ‘being there’ and knowing that my life is enriched with assets far more valuable than money. I sometimes include these in my ‘morning pages’ but I no longer keep a separate journal ~ believing that I’m consciously practicing gratitude already, I suppose.

Then the other day on Facebook, Joss Burnel shared this photo from ‘Women as Visionaries with Lore Raymond,’ which I reposted, too.

Image: with Janice Masters.

It made me stop and think that consumed by everyday pressures, it’s all too easy to take life for granted. But how blessed would I feel if I had nothing but my wardrobe, my provisions and my house? Even then I’d be better off than most people on the planet ~ could I find comfort in that?

I’ve so much to be thankful for and I’ve decided to put it in writing again. Here’s the first entry in my new ‘gratitude list’:

* I am grateful to my friend for suggesting this in the first place, all those years ago.
* I am grateful to Joss for reminding me of it, through the inspirational message she shared.
* I am grateful to Becca for starting ‘Nurturing Thursday’, prompting me to pass on this gentle, nurturing exercise.

And I will be extremely thankful if this blog doesn’t disappear into cyber~space ~ like the last two posts I composed! πŸ˜‰

Nurturing Thursday is hosted by Becca Givens, author of the inspiring blog ‘On Dragonfly Wings with Buttercup Tea.’ To read more about it, or to find out how you can join in, press this link.

Other ‘Nurturing’ contributors are:

Crowing Crone Joss

Inside the Mind of Isadora

Laurie’s Notes

Pocket Perspectives

And…..finally….to read my earlier ‘Nurturing Thursday’ posts (all 14 of them!) please visit Wightrabbit’s Blog

20 thoughts on “Nurturing Thursday 27

  1. Lovely Jacqueline! I wish I was able to maintain writing such important things down, it’s wonderful to look back and realise how much we grow, change and overcome. I also have much to be thankful for.

    1. I thought that saying my thanks aloud was enough, Gilly ~ and for a while it was ~ but writing them down seems to give them more power and it’s uplifting to read them too! Just have to get myself back into the habit again! πŸ™‚

  2. As a child I was taught by my grandmother to “count my blessings” and she would encourage me to recite specific points of gratitude. I’d love to say that I never veer from that path, but sometimes, of course I do. Yet her sweet voice does come back to me and I can’t go too long without getting back on track. Thank you for this lovely, personal sharing. It occurs to me that I haven’t taken specific action to bequeath the same “habit” to my two young granddaughters and I really must. I think sometimes we do need to be taught, just like your friend assisted you at a critical time, and now I really feel the responsibility to do that. Thank you, my friend. ox

    1. What a beautiful lesson your grandmother taught you and it has made me think too. I will teach my grandchildren to count their blessings ~ the four and a half year old twins will be able to understand that now, if I explain it at their level. I’m only just realising how important my role as ‘gran’ is ~ and now much fun we can have, because I’m not their primary carer. Ahh! There’s another gratitude for my list, thanks Debra! πŸ™‚

  3. Be assured this post didn’t disappear into cyberspace Jacqueline. I’m glad it didn’t as I enjoyed the gentle reminder to be a little more grateful for what I have and a lot less moaning about what I haven’t. Maybe a little more ready to accept my losses and get on with life again.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    1. I think you’re absolutely right about moving on, David, I hadn’t really thought of it that way. It’s as though my mind has suddenly snapped back into the present, instead of mourning the past, but I’m at a loss as to how I should feel now. Time, as they say, is a great healer ~ but sometimes we have to give it a little helping hand. Thank you for your perspective, (((hugs))) to you too! πŸ™‚

  4. This made me smile for so many reasons. One, being, that I almost chose that quote and image for my own Nurturing Thursday. It truly does make you stop and think. If what I am grateful for today is all that I have left tomorrow, what would my life look like? We get so caught up in stuff that truly doesn’t matter. One thing I do, when I get caught up in the swirl of problems and crisis, is to ask myself if this is my last day here, what do I want to spend it doing? Worrying about all that is wrong or bad? Methinks NO! Walk in beauty, I say.

    1. Thanks for your generosity, Joss ~ this particular quote leapt out at me and started a train of thought that’s more healing than the ones I’ve been having lately. We do get caught up in the machinations of everyday life and forget that it is all an illusion, that all is as it should be. I’m being squeezed by pressures from different directions at the moment and this practice is keeping me anchored. Thank you for reminding me about the ‘last day on earth’ too ~ I shall keep that in mind! πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you, Brenda. When I started my first gratitude journal, I never imagined how much it would raise my spirits ~ everything looked dark at the time and I couldn’t foresee a happy future……or even a future, some days. When life is progressing as you’d like it to, it’s easy to forget being mindful about all the gifts it holds, to take them for granted. My ‘joy’ has taken a bit of battering this year, so I’m on a mission to bring it back! πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you, Laurie, it’s easy to get bogged down by ‘the other stuff’, but yes ~ I’m grateful for that too. I no longer view challenging events as unjust punishment but more as a catalyst for further learning. That we are connected through our blogs and helping one another through on our individual journeys is a blessing too! πŸ™‚

      1. It is a blessing. I think there is a lot of healing going on in the world. Sometimes we can’t see just how much. Thankful for our connection too πŸ™‚

  5. What a great post! This lesson is something I struggled to learn for a loooooooong time. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in life’s everyday problems and yes, misery can be comforting if it’s a familiar state of being. Crazy, but true. I finally did *learn* this attitude for good several years ago, after completely hitting rock bottom. Sometimes I think that’s what it takes to actually start appreciating what one has. After all, if the only way to go is “up” then it makes it easier to be thankful for the good things that come your way.

    It’s easy to look at what is “missing” in our lives and bemoan the fact that we don’t have this or that, but even though being grateful is a challenge, it’s much better than the alternatives, and looking at what you “have” as opposed to what you “don’t have” is an integral part of learning how to be happy. Awareness is the first step. I’d be willing to bet that most people don’t know or even think about how blessed they truly are. Your example of being “richer” than 2/3 of the world population is a great example of that. It’s all about perspective. There will always be those who have more, are smarter, better looking, etc. etc. but there are a lot more who don’t have even half of what we often take for granted. Love the sign, by the way…a good reminder to never take anything (or anyone) for granted! Thanks for the reminder to be thankful, Jacqueline. Especially with Thanksgiving upon us, it’s timely and appreciated. πŸ™‚

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