Saturday, October 24, 2009

Practice Makes Perfect (Or, Gratitude Breeds Contentment)

This past week was a long one! Change is nearly always accompanied by some degree of stress, and in addition to taking on a new job back at the beginning of this month, and launching the website for Red Dirt Girl Photography, I've spent the past 2 weeks in my new position preparing for a big and important event that finally took place on Saturday. AND I've been planning our move, slated for exactly one month from today! To say I've felt stressed would be a bit of an understatement ;)

And yet, although stressed, I am grateful. Grateful for this job that allows me to work half the amount of time that I was working previously, but for the same pay. Grateful that my pay enables us to afford (even if just barely!) Ella's tuition. Grateful for the school community we've joined that we feel is worth every penny of said tuition. Grateful that my job is on the campus of Ella's school, and allows me to fuse my passion for Waldorf education with my natural proclivity for meeting new people and planting seeds of excitement inside of them for novel ideas and worthwhile endeavors. Grateful for the ways in which we already see Ella flourishing in her new environment, exhibiting more creativity, asking more thoughtful questions, and growing in her wonder at the world.

So, with all of this gratitude floating about, I thought I'd take the opportunity to share a daily touchstone that I find invaluable- my gratitude practice.

Did you know that people who describe themselves as being grateful tend to have more vitality and optimism, suffer less stress, and experience fewer episodes of clinical depression than the population as a whole? Not to mention, you just end up being a whole lot nicer to be around when you're dwelling on what's good, rather than harping on all that is not. So, in my own attempts to both be a more pleasant person and stave off depression and illness ;) I started a gratitude journal. This was no more complicated than picking up a 3-pack of Moleskine Kraft Brown Notebooks at Barnes & Noble and inking the front with a rubber stamp featuring an inspirational quote about gratitude. No, the starting was not difficult at's the persisting that proves a challenge. But persist I do.

Up until now my gratitude practice has consisted of logging 3 "thanks-givings" in my notebook throughout each day. It really is surprising how such a small act can change the entire trajectory of my day. So, I thought I would expand that practice a bit, by sharing some of my thankfulness via the blog. My hope is that in doing so, perhaps I can help to improve the trajectory of someone else's day.

So, please- post a comment. Tell me about your own gratitude practice- one you've undertaken recently, one that's been part of your daily life for as long as you can remember, or perhaps one that grows out of the seeds planted by reading this blog post. Share a story of how gratitude has changed your day, or how you've observed it changing someone else's life. And come back often, as I hope to make my gratitude practice a permanent feature on the blog...

Gratitude of the day for Wednesday, October 28th:

I am grateful for the privilege of being part of a school community where a friendly home visit from the kindergarten teacher, who comes bearing fresh-picked flowers bound with a finger-knitted ribbon, is par for the course.


melinda said...

Lauren, I am grateful for reading this post today :). I hope you have planted a seed for me! And I love your journal, it's beautiful.

Christine said...

I'm thankful for creative souls who encourage me and nurture that in my own life. I'm thankful that my husband chose me. That I'm blessed with a man who is so strong and also gentle and gifted in so many ways. I'm thankful for good health and the ability to choose healthy nourishing foods. I'm thankful my parents are alive and well and that I have family and friends to walk beside in life. Love you :)