I've started reading Simple Abundance again. Basically, it's a series of 365 essays on how to live a life that's authentic and true to what really matters to you. I keep the book in my bedside table, and since I first discovered it a long time ago, I tend to pull it out when I'm feeling scattered and dissatisfied with how my life is going. I've found in the past that the author's ideas really help me stay centered and focused on what really matters.
The first principle that the author discusses is gratitude for what we've already got - basically acknowledging that it's easier to be happy with what we have than it is to get everything we think we want. There are a number of low-key exercises she recommends, including a "gratitude journal" where every day you write down at least five things for which you are greatful. I've still got some of my old gratitude journals, and the entries run the gamut from "I got a promotion!" to "I didn't die today - yet."
I haven't been too good about following her exercises this time around, and I haven't started working on my official gratitude journal, although I have been trying to take a minute to think of five things I'm greatful for each day before I go to bed. One of the essays I read last night (catching up for a few days of slacking) suggested that I make a quick list of 100 blessings in my life.
"Yeah, right." I didn't think it would be quick at all, but since I've been slacking so far, I decided to give it a try. I managed to write down 50 things I was greatful for or that I consider to be blessings in my life before I ran out of time and had to go to bed, and that took maybe 15 minutes. I'm sure I could have managed to get the full 100 if I'd had the time and inclination, although the final 25 would have been a bit of a stretch (#79. Air).
The trouble I ran into is that a) I'm inherently pessimistic, and b) I'm a bit superstitious. So not only did a lot of my blessings fall into the category of "bad things that haven't happened yet," but I was sort of reluctant to write down the best stuff because I'm afraid I'll jinx myself. You know, write down that I am really enjoying my daughter at this stage of her life because she's so fun and it's such a great scientific experiment to see how she's developing her personality and her quirks ... and then the following day she turns into a little hellion I'm aching to foist off on my mother-in-law (Hi, Susie! Hope you liked the photos yesterday! Want to come visit for a month?).
I actually didn't write down "I didn't get the stomach bug that felled every other mom I know" because I was afraid to jinx myself ... and then I spent an hour getting way to familiar with the inside of our bedroom trashcan around 12:30am. Part of me thinks, "See? You didn't write it down, and the bad thing still happened, so you didn't jinx yourself." And the other part says "See? I just thought about it and the bad thing happened, so I'm doomed to suffer."
Not sure where I'm going with this. Maybe I'll get around to finishing the list tonight, and post the complete compendium one of these days. I haven't bothered to do any of the "100 things about me" memes here, so I suppose it would be good for filling space when I don't have anything else to talk about. In the meantime, anyone else want to list a few things off the top of your head that you consider blessings in your life?