Book of Countings

When I moved into my home, fondly referred to as the Perch, I had to make a tough call. Do I get cable modem or cable television. It was a hard call to make but also an easy one for me. I'm a net junkie and I needed to be connected. So I opted for high speed internet. While television works great for background noise, the biggest reason I switched my tube off was due to news programs. Honestly, they're overwhelmingly negative. And after September 11, 2001... things seem to be even more depressing. Almost a full 20 minutes of the nightly 10 o'clock news seems to get filled up with sad and depressing stories. Occasionally, tales of happiness and joy get shown but to me they're few and far between. This was not what I wanted to see or fill my life up with; and it was something I have not missed.

Instead I learned how to make my own news. I found a use for a journal a friend in college gave to me. She filled the spiral bound journal with a cat on the cover with inspirational quotes and messages. It took me almost 10 years to figure out what to use it for. Taking this book out I decided that it was time to put it too good use. I call it the Book of Counted Blessings and Gifts and for the past 6 years, I've written down (almost daily) the blessings and gifts that life and my travels have given me.

Two things get written into this journal. Each entry is dated, for remembering. The first is a simple statement beginning with Thank you. I then write about a gift I received that day. It could be as simple as getting a smile from a stranger to something tangible, like being given a free meal by a friend. This helps remind me that we get gifts daily from this world and that we should be more mindful of them and thank the entities (in person or in writing) for the time they've taken to make the gift.

The second thing that gets recorded in this book begins with You're Welcome. I then write about something I have done to give back to the world; something I've done to help someone out or did to give back to the community. the Again, this could be as simple as helping a friend move into their house or sent an email to cheer up a complete stranger. One small step of kindness can go a long way in making the world a brighter place for everyone to live in.

04/23/2k3: Thank you, Maggie for teaching me how to create unique journals that indulge my creative Spirit.

You're welcome, Joth [my cat] for providing you a warm bed and plenty of cuddle space for you to sleep and feel safe and protected.

So, the next time you're fed up with life, or feel drained from work, why not try keeping a week's worth of blessings and gifts in your planner or journal. This simple exercise takes 5 minutes to do and can go a long way in brightening your mood and reminding yourself that every little action carries weight. Occasionally, you'll get the urge to skip the exercise or condense it down to one simple moment where you both gave and received. Don't give into this temptation as it's more fun to try and uncover what moments the universe wants you to capture and recall down the road. It's more fun to remember the good things than it is to feel the weight of constant negative news bombardment. And when the going does get tough, I flip through the book and amaze my older self at all the things I've captured. All the simple little things that have blessed my life or helped other's accomplish along their paths, written down in a journal.

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TV News

I agree about the depressing effects of the tube and edited news: a negative window on humanity indeed.

My grandma always told me to count my blessings. It made sense only in later life, but I believe it's true nonetheless.

Thank you for you posts.

Peter Bryenton
http://peterbryenton.typepad.com/intervallic

Blessings!

Thank you Innowen for this post and the inspiration you shower on us all! I am going to begin a blessings journal tonight. I can imagine having it on my bedside table and writing my two things before I go to bed. Hopefully my dreams will then be filled with happiness.

I completely agree about the News. I turn my TV off every night at 10 because I do not want to hear all of the bad stuff. I have been doing this for years. I feel it is depressing and sad and not things I want to think of when I am trying to fall asleep. I wish they would take the time to report about all of the good too. Until they do, my TV is off!

Smiles Innowen - I think tonight you can write your Welcome to all of us for the inspiration you share with us!

nay nay

Brilliant.

Your post made me come up with something similar for myself.

I have a tendency to see everything in a negative light, especially when I'm depressed. So, at the end of each day, I will write down three positive things that happened. They could be small, like "I made the cat purr," or something big like "I helped a client enroll in school."

Also, since I tend to think of myself as a bad person, I will write down three things I did right that day. Even doing the dishes counts, because I don't do them as often as I ought. *grin*

I think making these lists will help my mood, which tends to be worse at night anyway... Thanks for the inspiration, innowen!

Love the idea

I'm gonna try it.
I can get real pessimistic, depressed and grumpy at times.
This should help.
-----------------------------------
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

Completely true

I am having this exercise daily and more other exercises and i feel great, i am recharging my battery and so i can to start all over again. I'm surprised though that people near me do not understand why i do this even if i had explained them several times now. Anyways it helps me a lot and this is all i know. I recommend it too.

Thanks

Nice idea. I like it.

- Jen

Gratitude List

Some time ago a mentor suggested (bluntly!) that I start a gratitude list - a numbered and dated listing of those happenings in my life which cause me to be grateful.

What a life changing experience the compilation and the weekly review of this ever growing list has been!

It has demonstrated to me in a very concrete way that I'm not the author of much in my life for which I'm grateful.

Expressing my gratitude directly to those involved has immeasurably improved the relationships in my life; and indirectly to my god in thanksgiving has deepened and strengthened my spiritual focus.

Thanks, Innowen, for the topic!