One of the gifts I received for my birthday this year was a blank journal.
I had tried journaling before, on the advice of my doctor. I was going through cancer treatment and life, as I knew it, had been put on hold. I was resentful and yes, a little bitter. Unfortunately, writing didn’t have the intended effect of calming me because I focused on all the things that were going wrong.
Eventually the treatments ended and my health improved. I stopped writing in my journal and some time later, when I looked at it again, I was so appalled at my attitude that I destroyed it.
In the years that followed, I started volunteering with a group of people who wanted to shake off the chains of generational poverty (National Circles Campaign) If they were keeping journals, they wouldn’t have had much to write about, either. Their stories were filled with pain and discouragement, just as mine had been.
One of the requirements is that each meeting starts with a “New and Good.” This has to be one thing that happened during the week that was both a new experience and a good one (not two separate events). At first it is hard for the class participants to come up with something to share. Sometimes it is just that they made it to the class.
Eventually, though, they start looking for something they can bring to share. A child made the honor roll. An unexpected gift. A call from an old friend.
Simple things, nothing earth shaking. Just moments of joy in an otherwise bleak landscape.
As the members begin to see that there are aha! moments, their outlook changes. They view the world in a more positive light. Discouragement becomes optimism. And good things begin to happen.
So in my new journal, I write down only the positive things that happened that day.
It isn’t hard coming up with something.
Blessings abound when you start looking for them.