Sunday, November 27, 2005

More on Thankfulness

Sometimes I can get into a negative cycle of what’s wrong. When will I get better at keeping my routine, write with greater ease, stay calmer when the kids are frustrated, keep a cleaner house. Or I ask myself when will the kids keep their rooms clean, do more for them selves, contribute to keeping the house in order, talk quieter.

When I focus on all of these negative thoughts I miss so many of the good things like the cool projects the kids are working on or their excitement with a new game. There is even beauty behind all of the things I am frustrated about. My kids are loud because they are happy and excited about life.

In July I bought a journal and some fun colorful pens. I wrote what I was thankful for at the end of the day but sometimes I wrote down things at anytime. A few of my old entries from July:

I love riding my new bike and the new baskets.
Now, I can bike to the store.

Harvested some green beans from my garden.

It was hard at first because I would come up with reasons to discount my thankfulness. “You harvested those green beans but you didn’t cook anything with them yet.” “So what if you’re happy with your new bike you have counter full of dirty dishes in the kitchen.” When I turned off the little devil on my shoulder, it got easier and I got more peace and joy.

But I have gotten out of the thankfulness habit and I have gotten out of sorts. I haven’t written anything down since July. I know if I keep up with the thankfulness I feel better and more optimistic. I can see that I am getting things done, rather than all the things I’m not getting anything done.

I want to get back into being thankful again, everyday. I just might add some thankfulness to all my posts. Maybe that’s all I will post about some days, what I am thankful for. Thankfulness journals are like an emotional insurance policy for the days that everywhere I turn I might see pile of laundry to fold, legos strewn on the floor, or the kitchen counters covered with dirty dishes.

When I’m thankful, I can tackle those dishes with much greater joy. I can ask the kids more calmly to turn down the TV or find something else for us all to do that would be quieter. More importantly, I can see more clearly the joy in our house and the smiles on everyone’s face.

If you want to start a thankfulness journal consider reading Buddha Never Raised Kids & Jesus Didn't Drive Carpool: Seven Principles for Parenting with Soul by Vickie Falcone or Simple Abundance Gratitude Journal and A Daybook of Comfort and Joy both by Sarah Ban Breathnach. Or just do it. Find ways to make it fun for you, maybe that's fun pens or using the computer.

Don't forget to tell the devil on your shoulder to keep quiet.

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