Entry #7: September 30, 2017 – A Discipline of Gratitude
I’ve read quite a few articles on gratitude over the past couple of years. I think it must be a trendy topic. I believe that gratitude is an important part of keeping our emotional and spiritual dimensions in balance. I also believe it is important to develop a discipline of gratitude.
It is so easy to get in a funk and lose a sense of joy and wonder that keeps us moving forward. This morning I was feeling a bit stressed. I was feeling the stress of a new teaching year and the stress of my post retirement plans.
I could feel tension in my body and a sense of anxiety pressing around me. I didn’t feel like expressing gratitude. I felt like I wanted to eat chocolate and take a nap. Even though I didn’t feel like doing anything, I’ve developed a discipline of expressing gratitude while jogging or driving. Gratitude is part of my measurable action plan that I follow. That means I’ve committed myself to this discipline even when I don’t feel like it.
Jogging and driving are two consistent activities I have built into my life. By including expressions of gratitude as part of these routines, I have been able to develop a “gratitude discipline” without much extra effort.
When I jog or drive, I start expressing gratitude by focusing on the first letter of the alphabet that comes to my mind. When I started jogging today, I noticed a leaf. I focused on things I was grateful for that started with the letter “L.” I thought about how grateful I am for laughter, the smell of lavender, lazy Saturday mornings, and life-long learning opportunities.
When I focus on a few things for which I am grateful, I can feel my spirit open up. I can feel joy and hope. For me, gratitude is an act of the spirit. It connects me with not only the present moment, but with something much bigger than me. I am thankful for the daily discipline of gratitude.