Gratitude is a practice ... an open journal with the words for me, gratitude is so much more than just an attitude. It’s a practice. Just like yoga, or meditation, it’s something you practice each day, if you truly want to embed it in your life.

The One About Practicing Gratitude

Hey there! It’s good to see you here. My name is Lizzie, and I am the redhead who is always wondering! Wondering about life, about this beautiful world, about words and light and colour and form. And mostly about how I can be the best me that I can possibly be.

I am a creator of hand bound books and of art, in the form of cyanotypes and photographs. I am also an avid journal-keeper and I’d like to share some of my journal wonderings with you today ….

More of a “Practice” than an “Attitude”

You read it a lot … “have an attitude of gratitude” … and I like that. I mean, we all love rhyme, right?! But for me, gratitude is so much more than just an attitude. It’s a practice. Just like yoga, or meditation, it’s something you practice each day, if you truly want to embed it in your life.

If you look up the word “practice” in M. Roget’s Thesaurus (which I did … the book sits on the shelf above my desk!), you find words like continuity, regularity, repetition, permanence, preparation, observance, vocation.

That word “vocation” sent me off into the body of the book (which a visit to Roget’s Thesaurus always does!) …

“Vocation” – calling, life work, mission, what one has to do

And in my experience, that is exactly what gratitude is … it’s what I have to do!

I’ll be honest with you, I’ve had some pretty shitty experiences in my life. My dad died when I was quite young, my relationship with my mum was … difficult (that’s the understated version … there’s a whole other Blog’s worth of material … or maybe a whole book … on that particular relationship!). Then there were the years of unhappiness in a very dysfunctional relationship (again, volumes could be written, hell, whole symposiums could be given about that one!!)

It would be so easy for me to be bitter and angry. I’ve known people who are twisted up with bitterness and anger, and their shitty stories aren’t nearly as shitty as mine. (Don’t worry, I’m not angling for some pity here … read on!)

The thing is, I’m NOT bitter. Oh, I won’t lie now either and tell you that I’ve never had those moments of anger or bitterness, or those general “woe is me, my life is so terrible” days. But something I learned in the pages of my journal is that holding on to those feelings hurts me. It hurts my body, my heart, my mind. Holding onto them creates dis-ease.

It’s so much better for me if I can let them go.

Let That Crap Go!!

I’ll pour those negative feelings onto the page (sometimes with a lot of swearing … believe me, if I’ve offended you with the word “shitty”, you do NOT want to be reading my journal!!!), and I’ll leave them there.

I don’t want those feelings inside me.

They are self-destructive. They are bad for me.

It’s no coincidence that we use the phrase “eaten up with …” …. anger, bitterness, jealousy, resentment, fear. Because that’s what feelings like that do, if you keep them locked inside you … they eat you up. That might take the form of IBS, of panic attacks or anxiety, of aches and pains and of that general dis-ease.

That’s why I let them out onto the page.

That’s why my journal is so important.

And it’s also why my journal is just for me!

“just a live woman”

… And Fill the Space with Gratitude

But here’s the other thing … if you can then start to layer gratitude into your life, then all those bad feelings can start to dissipate.

It’s simply not possible to feel truly grateful AND feel a negative emotion at the same time.

Go on! Try it! Think about something that is making you feel angry or resentful. Then turn your mind to something you are truly grateful for. It doesn’t have to be something huge; being grateful for the sunshine, for a good night’s sleep, for your best friend’s presence in your life. Really lean into that feeling of how grateful you are. Feel it in your belly, in your heart.

I’ll bet you’re smiling!

I’m smiling as I write this!!!

Gratitude will do that for you.

And the more you practice it, the better you will feel.

My friend Gemma James talks a lot about “active Gratitude”. She practices gratitude as part of her everyday life … she expresses her gratitude for waking up, for the sun, for the rain, for the green traffic light, for the perfect parking space.

And it’s a really good practice to have. The more thankful you are able to feel, the less space there is for negativity.

Journal, Journal, Journal

in my English country garden

When I write my journal, I am so often writing from a place of gratitude.

I love my life”, I will write, and this is followed by the words, “I’m so grateful to be living the life I am living now, to have the people in my life that love and support me”.

And I mean it! I do love my life and I am grateful for all the love! I love my home, my garden, my business … and I am grateful for all of those things!

I’m so grateful to you for taking the time to read this, I truly am. Again, as I write this, I am smiling, because I’m thinking how lovely it is that all these fabulous women want to read what I have to say!!

I know that I bang on about this all the time (hey, it’s what I’m all about!) but keeping a journal is so good for your mental and emotional well-being. It’s the place where you get to safely explore feelings, where you can say anything, where you can work things out.

Sometimes people find it hard to start writing, they feel as if a gazillion thoughts are running around in their head, and they don’t know where to start, how to grab that elusive loose thread that will unravel them all.

My advice?

Start with gratitude!

Start by writing, “I am grateful for ….” And fill in the blank.

Do this five times. Once you’re firmly in that place of gratitude, you might just find that your writing will flow.

And if the words don’t come, write another five things you’re grateful for!! Just doing that is enough, just doing that will set you up for the day with a smile on your face!

start with gratitude

Even though I’ve been keeping a journal for a long time, I still get days where I’m “stuck”, where my hand hovers above the page and I don’t know where to start. That’s when I always fall back on my gratitude practice. I can highly recommend it. On those days when the flow won’t, well, flow, then I just write, “Today, I am grateful for ….” And I see what happens. There is always something to be grateful for. Today, I am grateful for this blank page. Today, I am grateful that I am alive. Today, I am grateful that we haven’t run out of milk and I was able to have a cup of tea! You get the picture.

Gemma James has taught me a lot about gratitude and thanks to her, as well as writing about gratitude in my morning journal, I also keep a Gratitude Journal by the side of my bed, and before I settle down for the night, I write three things that I’m grateful for that day, three things I’ve achieved, and I set my intention to have a great night’s sleep and wake up grateful! I can always find things to be grateful for … even on the worst of days … I’m grateful I’m alive and living this life!

What are you grateful for today? Journal it out!

Creating the Right Environment to Grow

Some final thoughts I’d like to share with you on the subject of gratitude …

When I sat down to write my journal this morning, as is often the case, once I’d written my affirmations, I drew one of the Goddess Oracle cards from Kat Shaw’s “The Path of the Divine Feminine”. I love these cards. Kat’s art is gorgeous; she celebrates the beauty of women’s bodies in all their glorious shapes and sizes, and she’s definitely changed the way I view my own body (but that’s a subject for another blog, methinks!).

Today, when I knew that my first task was going to be finishing this blog post, I drew the Sunflower Goddess, and again as so often happens, She was the perfect card with the perfect message …

Sunflower Goddess – Grow

To grow, sunflowers must be nurtured – watered, fed and have the right conditions. This card has shown up for you today to highlight what you need in order to grow. Reflect on your life …. Are you surrounding yourself with people who feed your soul positively? Are you creating for yourself the right environment to grow? If you are not, it is time to make the necessary adjustments. Start with positivity. Sunflower Goddess is your reminder to look for the joy in life. To become intoxicated in the elation of small pleasures and to revel in happiness in small and large ways. To sink into the bliss of the beauty that surrounds you and to delight in the rays of sunshine or drops of rain that bless your life. And from a point of joy, make the changes needed in order to fully nourish your life so you can grow and achieve your fullest potential.”

Kat Shaw, The Path of the Divine Feminine, Empowering Goddess Oracle

Now if that isn’t the perfect card to remind me that I can find things to be grateful for every day, then I don’t know what is.

Look for those small pleasures … sink into that bliss … and be grateful.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll to Top