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A Journal of Gratitude

Text by: Jacque Crosswell Watene

It isn’t the big pleasures that count the most; it’s making a great deal out of the little ones.
-Jean Webster
Excerpt from Personal Gratitude Journal September 7, 2006

*5 Things I Am Thankful For Today:

  1. Croquet and homemade ice cream
  2. The scent of Autumn in the air
  3. Orange blossoms
  4. Writing a song
  5. Treasure hunting for old books
I have found the secret to happiness. It isn’t having more money, less bills, a larger home, a lover, a new car, or even greater health. Though these things might make us feel good for moments, they can never make us joyful. Things never will. Things and people come and go, ebb and flow into and out of our lives. True, real, lasting happiness isn’t found in actual things or other people, but rather is created inside of our thoughts. The secret to living a happy, joyful life is gratitude.
© Jessica Ceason Photography

I used to be a very unhappy person. I was frequently disappointed by the way my life had turned out, and I fought depression on an almost daily basis. I thought that was a normal state of being, that everyone felt the same way and just dealt with it. I thought it was normal to always feel like I never had enough. Enough what? Take your pick— money, love, talent, opportunity, choices, beauty, joy… I took my life for granted, blind to the miraculous splendor and abundance that surrounded me everyday.

And then one day, when I couldn’t stand my attitude for a moment longer, I began a practice that literally changed my life. I started to write down at least five things I was grateful for every single day.

© Jessica Ceason Photography

At first, I am embarrassed to admit, it was difficult to find five things to be grateful for each morning, because I didn’t allow myself to repeat anything I had already written down. But after a few weeks, gratitude came pouring out through my pen onto the journal pages, and I reached a point where I couldn’t wait to get up in the morning to write more. I began to truly like and respect myself, even befriending myself as I would peruse the entries I had made in my journal, finally getting to know the real “me.” I discovered that I loved beautiful poetry and classic literature, gourmet chocolate, having tea parties with my children, blue skies with puffy white clouds, gardens, castle ruins, new archeological discoveries, old clocks, and just laughing with my husband. I began to look at the world around me in a new light. What I had previously perceived to be a cold, unfriendly, and unfair planet quickly became a beautiful, lively, giving world, full of love and wonder. All this came from the mere act of consciously being in a state of gratitude. Looking back, I cannot believe I wasted so many years living in lack and unhappiness, when I had so incredibly much to be grateful for.

I am very proud to say that I am now a happy woman. I experience joy on a daily basis. My life is more full of beauty, wonder, opportunity, and hope than I could ever have wished for in my darker days of yore. I had to change the “inside” of me,
© Jessica Ceason Photography
through my thoughts before the “outside” circumstances could change, and gratitude was the essential key to that transformation.

Begin today to experience more joy by starting your own journal of gratitude. Select a notebook or journal in your favorite color or design, and keep it near your bed. Then, when you see it each morning, (or evening, depending on your daily schedule) write down five things you are grateful for. Make it a habit, and you will see your own wondrous, abundant life unfold before your very eyes.