The Grateful Book

September 21, 2015

IMG_2084 (2)
For several years I was mired in grief as I struggled to come to terms with those feelings of loss we all have when someone close to us dies and we either ignored the signs or felt helpless through the process that, in many cases, lasts for years.

As my grief cycle lost some of its hold on me I started reading again in my search for stepping stones to help me rise from a serious depression to a brighter life. I also turned to friends and relatives and my new boyfriend and they have all stood by my side as I slowly beat back the viny tendrils of my own mind that were trying to hold me back.

One of the suggestions I came across was called The Grateful Book. That’s not the name of a book, but is an exercise to help turn the tables on the mind and it has been of immense help to me.

The premise is simple

  1. Buy a brand new spiral notebook and a pen that you can keep by your bed.
  2. Each day, either before turning out the light at night or before rising in the morning, write down 10 things you are truly grateful for. (For me, this usually takes up most of a page so I just use a new page for each day.)

The page of my book from this morning follows as an example. However, to give you a better understanding of WHY I write what I do let me tell you where I live and what I saw yesterday.

I live in an apartment in a barn. The apartment was converted from a farm manager office with the horse stall next to it remodelled into a bedroom and the storage room behind converted to a bath room.

There are three other 12′ x 12′ ‘apartments’ in this facility that do not have bathrooms or windows, but there is a common kitchen and a toilet in the office in the second barn. The people in the other apartments bathe late at night, with a hose, outside in the dark. There is no hot water.

In comparison, my 700 sq.ft. apartment is the Taj Mahal. I have two window air conditioners, a small window, a real stove and refrigerator, and a full bathroom with hot water as well as my bedroom.

Yesterday, the woman who lives with her husband in one of the rooms proudly showed me their home. It was spotless, smelled of cleaning products, and had a dresser, a mattress on the floor, and storage bins stacked in one corner. There was a coffee pot on the dresser and it must have been over 100 degrees in the windowless room. She had a big smile and was so happy to show it to me.

So, here is this morning’s page from my Grateful Book:

  • I am grateful every day that I have a boyfriend who is a good man and cares about me.
  • I am grateful every day that I have a kitchen with all the appliances I need and extra ones that are convenient.
  • I am grateful every day that I have running water and a functional indoor bathroom where I can privately bathe.
  • I am grateful every day that I have lots of clothes for any weather condition.
  • I am grateful every day that I have boxes and shelves of books to read about a variety of subjects from humor to self improvement and education to science fiction.
  • I am grateful every day that I wake up each morning to the sounds of life all around me.
  • I am grateful every day that I can watch the sunset from my front door.
  • I am grateful every day for the incredible beauty I see in clouds, water, trees, flowers, animals and the faces around me.
  • I am grateful every day for my functioning brain and the creative thoughts I have as well as all the memories of my life.
  • I am grateful every day for the taste of clean water, the smell of coffee, the sounds of birds, the sight of growing things and the touch of others.
  • I am grateful every day for the lifetime of hugs I have received and for each one I will get in the future.

Sometimes I have a particular person or event on my mind and what comes to mind is all the things related to that. Many themes repeat, like my boyfriend, my sister, my friends, adventures and travel I have enjoyed, moments I remember, my animals, vehicles that are old but functional, my job, educational grants I’ve recieved…

At first it was hard to think of a single good thing to be grateful for. Then, as I got into the thought patterns of actually seeing what is around me, it became easier and easier to be grateful for everything.

IMG_2056It’s hard to believe, as I sit here inside a solid building and type on my computer that is connected to the rest of the world through the internet while a cool breeze from the air conditioner wafts the warm scent of toasting cinnamon English muffin through the air and a little black and white cat stretches in contentment and companionship next to me, that there are places in the world where bombs are falling, homes are being invaded, women are not allowed education or employment. And that my very neighbors don’t have bathrooms.

How can I NOT be grateful for what I have and where I live?

IMG_0089

Years ago when I lived in the Florida Keys there was a phenomenon I observed only a few times in the two years I was there. All things came together in harmony….

I went to work just before sun-up from Long Key across the Three Mile Bridge (which was only two lanes wide at that time); the tide was in mid change as I crossed the bridge; the air was perfectly calm. The water was as still as glass as far as the eye could see and reflected the blue of the sky like a mirror in such a way that it was impossible to tell where water ended and sky began. I drove across the bridge with my heart in my throat and the most extraordinarily awesome visual and spiritual impression of driving across the sky. It was one of those mystical experiences akin to touching the hand of God.

The Bridge To Heaven

I rise from bed five minutes slow,
brush my teeth, comb my hair,
throw on clothes, and race to the car…
Hurry! Hurry! Or I’ll be late!

The engine turns over, I hit the gas,
gravel flies, and tires skid,
then speeding along on an empty road…
Hurry! Hurry! Or I’ll be late!

Pavement is clear ahead of me,
bridge and sky and glass-calm sea,
so pure and still, such serenity….
Slow down! Stop! And let me see!

Transported am I to fantasy,
heart in throat I stare ahead
at bridge extending through the sky….
Slow down! Stop! And let me see!

My heart swells and suddenly
I sense a shift in reality,
the bridge to Heaven, can this be?
Slow down! Stop! And let me see!

Tears track my cheeks, I creep along
to drink the view and hear the song
Angels sing at times like these…
Slow down! Stop! And let me see!

I reach the end of magic bridge
and wish the trip had longer gone.
Could I have seen far white gates?
if I had slowed a little more?

Continued I to work that day
but I would never be the same
since Heaven’s Bridge I have seen…
My eyes see God in everything.

Exploring Alura

The Bipolar Girl Who Shines Brightly

Rosie Culture

Rosie and her 20's

a comedian's notebook

taking comedy seriously, but not too seriously

Writer's Treasure Chest

A blog for authors, about authors, written by an author

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

Echoes of Life, Love and Laughter

Logical Quotes

Logical and Inspirational quotes

The Hedgeblog

Brit Mum. Cake Lover. Bad Poet. Writer.

anntogether

AM Roselli's art & writing site

Dan Alatorre - AUTHOR

helpful writer ramblings from a disturbed mind just like yours

Jessica Torres

Published Poet • Writer • Spoken Word Artist • Actress • Model

Fido 'n Fluffy's Blog

"Accentuate the Pawsitive"

Surprising Lives

Discover Life, Incredible People, Places and Our World!

CoffeeGrounded's Blog

Charged up and ready to ramble

Funny Jokes, Cartoons, Inspirational Quotes

Set of True Revolutionary Thoughts, Motivational Articles, Cartoons and Inspirational Best Ever Realistic Quotes.

Jebus Mews & Andrea

Photo Enthusiast, Travel, NYC & Cats

999 roses in my life

999 bông hồng, 999 phụ nữ đẹp. 999 roses, 999 beautiful ladies.

Buffalo Tom Peabody's Blog 1

The 9 lives of Buffalo Tom Peabody.