I have surprised myself: I have been writing in my Gratitude Journal for 15 days (I did miss one day because I forgot!) It has been quite an exercise for me in discipline and creativity. Since I participated in NaNoWriMo, which ended on the last day of November, I haven’t written much at all.
Some days are full of the mundane, and it’s hard to pick three things to put in the Journal; other days are so full of little miracles, it’s hard to pick only three to write into the Journal. And it hasn’t become any easier – yet. I suppose if gratitude were easy, everyone would do it. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing? People expressing gratitude for the day-to-day miracles that happen in their lives.
Nature itself is a miracle, if you stop and think about it. A tiny seed, no bigger than a pinhead, can grow into a giant tree; birds instinctively know how to build a nest, how to migrate and which way to go. I am constantly amazed at wild flora and fauna; at the way a hawk will catch the thermals and just soar in ever increasing circles until it is out of sight.
What exactly are miracles? To me, they are the everyday things that happen without any seeming interference from anyone or anything. I know that there are natural laws at work here, and I actually know some of them, but knowing doesn’t decrease my wonder at the marvels of our world.
Balance permeates our lives: we have darkness so we can appreciate light; we have bad so we can appreciate good. But balance is also how we live. And it is sometimes very difficult to attain balance in what we choose.
We are not just a physical presence in this world. We are mind, body, and spirit. It’s important to keep all three in balance. If we focus on strengthening only the body, our minds and spirits will suffer. Focusing only on one or two of these will make the other(s) wither.
There are many ways to keep our bodies and minds active, and it seems we all manage to keep those two going. But what about spirit? What is it and how do we keep it strong?
I am no expert; I can only say what I have learned in my years on this earth. To me, spirit is the very essence of who we are. It is what makes us human. When we neglect our spirit, our body and mind can go downhill quickly. Spirit is a tricky thing, and easy to ignore. We can eat healthy food, stay hydrated, keep our minds active, and yet neglect the spirit.
Where to begin? I try to take time each day to reflect on what I want to accomplish, on what I will do to reach my goal(s) for the day. Some days, one goal is all I can handle! It’s important to have time to yourself, even if it’s only a few minutes. Each of us must decide for ourselves what we need to do to recharge. For me, it’s being in Nature.
I find being outside peaceful and healing. It’s a few minutes without distractions; a few minutes to observe how the ants follow a certain trail; how a hawk flaps its wings to stay in the thermals to soar and conserve energy; or how the ground squirrel pokes her head out of her hole to see if all is clear; to stay still and watch the geckos chirp and chase the bugs that gather around the light on the back porch. It is in these quiet moments that I discovered that geckos have voices, that ground squirrels have a vocabulary of calls, that hummingbirds are really quite noisy!
Some days, I hear my mind going constantly; it’s hard to turn it off. Being in Nature helps me to focus on what’s important to me. There is a beauty in Nature if we take the time to see it.