Gratitudes, Attitudes, and Acknowledgements

 Is your tree up yet? How about your menorah? Have you set up your mkeka and kinara? 

     In my home, my halls are decked and while we have not yet donned our gay apparel, the Christmas season is in full swing.

     Why then, am I writing about gratitude in this piece? Well, first of all, gratitude is a state of being we can easily embody all year long, and second, I was just too busy to get this written and posted before Thanksgiving. So, as we embark on the holidays of hope, I am riding out the tail end of the holiday of gratitude.

     Gratitude, in its simplest form, is being thankful. It is that deep feeling of appreciation and according to Webster, it is pleasing to the mind and or senses. We all know this. What many people don’t realize is that when you say thank you, you are saying one of the greatest prayers there is.

     What? How is this possible? Well, Lucy, let me explain. As I mentioned before, gratitude is a state of being. When we feel appreciative, we are radiating one of the highest, most loving energies there is. And we all know what happens when we are in a positive, loving mindset, right? We attract more positive and loving thoughts, things, and feelings to us. What you put out into the world comes right back to you. 

     And that, my peeps, is why it is even more important to be in a state of gratitude when the chips are down. It’s not only when the Benjamins are flowing in and the fam squad is healthy that we should be thankful. When things are in the crapper, and you can still look around and find a bunch of things to be grateful for, that energy will pick you up and bring more goodness right back to you. It’s the equivalent of a giant flush.

      Now I get it. That can be a tall order at times. I’m not saying you have to dance down the street shouting your gratitude from the rooftops, but in those moments when you are really struggling, there are those small, quiet things in life we tend to overlook. The smile of a baby when you are out shopping. Your favorite song coming on the radio. A crisp morning with the sun shining. Your kid saying, “I love you.” A gingerbread donut.  Being home by yourself when your husband finally goes into the office.

     So how do we keep that grateful state going all year long and not solely during the holiday season? With a gratitude journal. You’ve heard me speak of it before, and if I had to name one practice that has been the most beneficial in my life it would be keeping my gratitude journal.

     There are many ways to do this, and whatever practice you create for yourself and works for you is the best way to do it. I am going to share what works for me. Peter Pauper Press manufactures my favorite kind of journal. Take a look below at how pretty they are. I love that there is an attached bookmark, they lay flat when you open them, and the line spacing is just perfect.

I wish I had taken a photo with better lighting. These are even prettier in person. These are just a few of my Peter Pauper Press journals.

     I used to bust out my journal right before bed and then found that because I was so tired at night, I stopped writing. That was when I started to set my alarm just a little bit earlier, found my cozy spot on the couch, lit my favorite candle, and sat in stillness before morning mayhem began. 

My first gratitude journal ever! The year was 1997 and this was a journal from my youth I never used. It even has a combination lock.

     I ponder on the events of the day before, or sometimes notice things happening at that moment, and get them down on paper. My line at the top used to read, Five Things I am Grateful For, and I would be ecstatic when I would often fly past five. I now have a new title. Gratitudes, Attitudes, and Acknowledgements.

    Instead of keeping a separate journal to write about my feelings, I allowed myself to put it all together in one journal, hence, the “attitude” portion. Sometimes I work through emotions within the gratitude statement and other times I jot it down when I’m through with my list. 

     Last are the acknowledgments. Acknowledging myself is a practice I learned from author, Rhonda Britton. While I am grateful for things I may have accomplished and done well, it’s important to acknowledge myself for them too. So sometimes, I throw them in there, and damn, it feels good! 

This is from a few years ago. Usually I try to write, “I’m grateful for” or “I acknowledge myself for” at the start of the statement.

     The best part of all this is not only the feeling and benefits of feeling grateful in the moment, but also when I read over past journals. I found one entry the other day that made me tear up with joy. Picture my conversation with my then four-year-old daughter:

“Isn’t life grand?” I said to her, as we were playing in the park. She responded with, “Yeah…and coca cola.” Such a tiny little funny moment I would surely have forgotten about, yet the feeling of joy and gratitude prompted me to record it. Now I get that same fuzzy feeling when I read it over.

      In a different entry I was grateful for my cousin, Carl, telling me, “I love you, Jenny,” before we hung up the phone. He is no longer with us and when I read that gratitude sentiment, it fills me with such love. I can even hear his voice saying it all over again. Joy and gratitude can be present even amidst grief.

     So as the holiday season continues, go ahead and capture those little moments, or even the big ones, that make life worthwhile. Raise your vibration and bring more joy right on over to you. Ask Santa for a new journal, or gift a friend or family member with one as you light a candle for your holiday tradition. Or heck, just go out and buy yourself a journal. I can assure you, you will be grateful you did. And give yourself a pat on the back while you’re at it.

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