Make space for gratitude, hope and light

Life is filled with bumps, unexpected turns and upsets. It is very easy to focus on the jolts and the worries. Our minds have evolved to linger on the predator circling the campsite, not the happy, the joy-filled, the mundane.

How do we pull our mind off our worries and upsets and make space for moments of appreciation, gratitude and hope? Happy thoughts don’t just happen. For me, I need a prompt. I need to invite these moments into my world. Otherwise my mind remains locked on circling wolves, the sterile endless plains or rustles in the bushes.

I invite moments of light, gratitude and hope into my life by:

1. Gratitude Journal: I spend ten minutes most mornings writing in a self-care journal. Each week I have a gratitude page and stick to a theme. A theme could be: “my job”. This is especially good on a Monday morning when I am all grrr and blah, and whyyy. I write down a page of reasons why I am grateful for my job (for example, money to keep a roof over my head, money to buy food I enjoy eating etc). I switch it up week by week with all the things I am grateful for: friends, family, garden, exercising, getting up early… then I start again.

2. Focus on the Horizon: I have a short, positively worded goal blue-tacked to my bathroom mirror. As I wash my hands, I look myself in the eye and state that goal with feeling and a smile.

3. Winner’s Corner: there is a very special cluster of tiny purple cards on the wall beside the door of my writing room. These are the stories that have found a home out there in the world. I can’t exit my writing room without my gaze catching on this small, chirpy bunch. I deliberately set a large space around them. My intention is for some new buddies to join them in 2021!

4. Display my creativity: I am very good at starting new things. I have hundreds of fragments of worlds and characters and stories. I celebrate this by putting each new story on a small purple card on my wall. When I feel flat and hopeless, this herd reminds me of my creative energy and potential. Each represents a new idea, new opportunity, new beginning.

5. Celebrating courage: five years ago, I told very few people I write. Today I have a website, facebook, 10–15 items out chasing publication at all times and I am forcing myself to share my work through my Fortnightly Features. I set my Fortnightly Features in a special place on the wall to remind myself of how I go toe-to-toe with my personal demon (sharing my work) each and every fortnight.

I need these reminders and rituals to invite splashes of gratitude, hope and intention into a mind soaked with worry and doubt.

What reminders do you have for gratitude, celebration or the horizon you’re trekking toward?

First published on my website 22 April 2021