Welcome to another entry in my Grateful Heart Monday series of my blog, TheTwelfthStep, where gratitude remains the sole focus on my writing at the start of each week, which for today is for continuing to write at least 10 things I’m grateful for each day in a private gratitude journal for almost 15 years now.
In 2007, when I initially began my path to recovery from addiction by going through the 12 Steps for the first time with a sponsor named Lorraine, I was told how ungrateful I was in my life with all that I had. I couldn’t see it at the time, nor could I fathom just how negative of a person I had become. Her first suggestion to change that was to begin maintaining a private gratitude journal for only my eyes to see that was dedicated to God for what I was grateful for at the end of each day. I began that in late 2007 by coming up with at least 5 things, that soon became 10 things, much of which has also become the inspiration for this Grateful Heart Monday series in my blog in recent years.
It’s easy NOT to have a grateful heart in this world with all the pain and suffering we seem to go through. It’s also easy to focus on all that we DON’T have rather than what we DO. I too fall into that sort of thinking from time to time, but can quickly remedy it at the end of every evening when I sit down and write out my list of 10 things I was grateful to God for that day.
Sometimes I struggle to come up with those things, typically on a day that’s riddled with chronic pain and mental and emotional frustration. But as soon as I quiet my mind and ego even a little, I always do find at least 10 things that I can be grateful for happening to me on any given day. For what initially began as a list of simple things like being grateful for the food, water, and shelter in my life, eventually became a long list of countless positive things that happened to me on each and every day.
Doing this exercise has truly shifted my mind incredibly, especially after writing out a list that’s well over 50,000 things to be grateful for throughout all these years. Because of this, I can easily identify now whenever I am falling back into a day of ungratefulness and know exactly how to start shifting myself away from that sort of thinking.
While this Grateful Heart Monday series is only written and shared with all of you once a week, practicing gratitude in my private journal happens every single day, year after year, and has done something to my heart that no other exercise has ever been successful in for me. I offer a sincere thanks to Lorraine, God rest her soul as she passed away long ago, for being that sponsor who once gave me such a good kick in the butt over my ungrateful heart, that it altered my spiritual path for the better ever since.
If you want to see a life that focuses more on gratitude rather than on all that’s wrong in this world, I encourage you at the end of each day to write out at least 5 good things that happened to you. Even if it starts out with you thanking God for the very breath you took that day, I promise you it will become something that will help you see the world far better than you ever have before, which is the very reason why I’m dedicating this ongoing private exercise for today’s Grateful Heart Monday.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson