When I was at my lowest, the furthest away from my sacred sexy self, I stopped journaling. And I had been journaling fairly consistently since 1987. I'm not sure why I stopped. Perhaps this was just another fine example of how low I had fallen, of how far away I was from recognizable me.
My time at Trembling Trees was so draining and time consuming that I must have decided writing about all the drama, how I was feeling, and what I was going through, was futile. Instead, I did something rather interesting, I started a gratitude journal.
I had done this before, at the suggestion of a friend when I was living in Colorado. But I had stopped doing it consciously. The habit had been formed and I was doing it a little more unconsciously, a little more meditatively. But my Waldorf teaching years brought it out again, like shaking the dust off a winter coat.
I'm not sure how much warmth or protection my gratitude journal provided. I certainly was trying. It was my attempt to stop focusing on all the negativity and craziness at the school. It was my attempt to get a handle bar hold on my thoughts and my so called life.
Luckily, remembering to be grateful is something that I practice everyday. I say luckily because my Waldorf experience could have easily left me bitter and cold. I certainly felt that way as I tried to muster a list of thankfulness. Some days I wrote 5 things I was grateful for, and other days 3 was all I could find.
It was not uncommon for me to say, The Sun. I was grateful that the sun was out because the NW is so depressingly cloudy and overcast. The children were often noted in my notebook, as they lifted my heart more than they ever knew. Laughter stood out more, as well as days perceived to be "easier".
A book that I enjoyed for many years, as something to meditate on, was Sarah Ban Breathnach's Simple Abundance. Here is what she has to say about keeping a Gratitude Journal. I also found Susannah Conway's blog, and this month she is doing something called The August Break which is a photo journal challenge. I think this emulates a similar feeling as a gratitude journal.
I like Susannah's idea, not because I'm a good photographer, but because I'm not a good photographer. And I'm in the middle of reading Portrait of Myself by Margaret Bourke-White.