Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Thankful Tuesdays: Gratitude Journaling

And so today begins the "Thankful Tuesday" series. I truly believe that it is important to hit the pause button for a few moments each day and simply remember all that we are thankful for. Before I begin, let me explain what led me to this daily gratitude activity. A few months ago, I became very interested in starting a daily yoga practice and so I bought the clothes, the mat, the blocks, the DVDs, and even a box of cards containing different yoga poses. Have you ever tried something and liked it so much that you wanted to take on its persona? Or maybe you even started practicing a certain activity simply because you thought you should?  And as you began to explore this hobby deeper, you began to mimic what others in the field were doing. Just as a 5 year old girl longs to have a purse that is like her mom's, you began wearing the same Lulu yoga pants as your yoga instructor. Well I can certainly say I have been on both ends of this spectrum. While I've had training clients mimic everything from my clothes to my hairstyle, I could also go into great detail over the numerous times I took on another persona such as my "rock-star" phase in which I asked  for a guitar on my 12th  birthday, signed up for lessons, began wearing black eyeliner, and created a screen name titled MBzlilroxstar. (And in case you need an AOL translation, that would stand for "Michelle Branch's little rock-star"). This phase of my life, along with the vegan, law school, and showgirl phases quickly came to screeching halts when I discovered they weren't true to me.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that when I decided that I truly enjoyed practicing yoga, I firmly believed that the appropriate "yogi" thing to do was to begin  keeping a yoga journal. And so I set out to TJ Maxx to buy a beautiful, leather-bound journal. That following day, I sat down on my newly purchased yoga mat, lit a relaxing scented candle, turned on my "Yoga" Pandora list, and with my favorite blue pen wrote the date at the top corner of the crisp, white page as neatly as possible. I began my first entry with the sentence; "My yoga practice today was a YogaWorks DVD at 6pm." I continued on with these "entries" for a few more days until  suddenly it struck me that this journal was simply one of my many daily lists. By writing down what I had done for yoga that day I had turned my journal practice into a recording of events.

I alarmingly realized that I was creating a harsh reminder for myself of the days that I did not find time to practice. When I saw that I did not “find time” for yoga that day, I associated it with yet another thing that I could not check off my to-do list.

That's when I decided to use my journal to write down the 5 things that I am most grateful for each day. At first, this felt extremely silly. I would simply write entries 2-3 sentences long such as"I am grateful for... 1. being able to drive with the windows down today 2. my new sneakers that I got today..." However, what I came to realize from this daily practice that no matter how tough the day was, it was very easy to find 5 things to be grateful for. 

At the end of each daily gratitude entry, I like to write down a quote that feels relevant to that particular day. This activity has become a part of my morning routine, in which I  create good energy in the form of an affirmation that I can carry forward with me for that day. Since I have begun the gratitude practice, I have found myself changing my outlook on the day's events and appreciating all in which I do have. There is so much that we take for granted, but yet we'd be lost without. And so I invite you to take a few moments today and recognize what you are grateful for. I would like to share with you that one of my grateful things that I listed in my journal today is how grateful I am for all of your support in the launching of the Creatively Lu blog and I literally feel chills knowing that I am  able to share a very valuable lesson for living my life with you all. Below is the "takeaway" quote for today.

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