A sleepy hush seemed to fall over the apartment as I sat down to write this post. The tea in my cup was warm, soothing. Both of my fur babies were curled up together on the end of the couch. Another weekend had come to a close and although I was tired, although I was still in a tremendous amount of pain, I couldn’t help but feel grateful.
Grateful for a weekend spent celebrating birthdays with loved ones.
Grateful for the sights and sounds of beautiful Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Grateful that I have this life at all.
This kind of gratitude—in the face of physical pain—is not something that comes easily to me. I struggle with it, every hour of every day, but it’s something that I feel compelled to write about. To share. To maybe shore up my resolve in the pursuit of it.
I couldn’t tell you when or why I first made the decision to actively cultivate gratitude. Its roots have been forgotten, as lost as that first gratitude journal, but the practice itself has survived. Every night before I turn out the bedside lamp, I write down three things that I am grateful for. The things I list could be the names of family members or friends. Other days, I might record happy events that occurred during the day. Some days, I write down what I eat because, some days, that’s all I can find to be grateful for.
The magic of a gratitude journal is not what you write down, but that you write something down at all. Sometimes it’s the really, really minute things that soften your heart and help you realize just how fortunate you are.
With this in mind—and the fact that constant physical pain is accompanied by the temptation to be a Negative Nelly—I decided to turn my mind even more toward gratitude. Keeping a gratitude journal at night has, on many occasions, shifted my perspective.
So what would happen, I wondered, if I started my day by listing three things that I’m grateful for?
Or, if I paused in the middle of the day to recall three additional blessings, would that have an effect on me?
And, if I faithfully turned to my gratitude journal each night to record three more things, would I finally be able to both see and believe that my blessings outweigh the pain in my back and my legs?
The experiment is young still, Dear Readers, but I am finding that that this self-prescribed regimen of gratitude three times a day has given me something to smile about. It’s something I look forward to. And, it reminds me, that even amid physical discomfort, there is always something to be grateful for.