When I began my daily mindfulness practice a year and a half ago, I also began daily journals reflecting upon my practice and my life experiences. These books have become some of my most beloved possessions. I have used them in my writing to capture a moment in time that has passed, and I have used them to gain a new perspective when I was unsure which way to more forward.
They are a record written in my most personal moments, and yet strangely, they are also a source of objectivity for me. There are moments when I go back and review the pages to find kernels of wisdom I need at the present moment or to gain a sense of “what it was really like” when I feel like a time was particularly “good” or “bad” in my life.
My journaling has changed over time. My research on the benefits of gratitude evolved my writing to include more positive experiences. In short summary, individuals with a gratitude practice have more positive emotional experiences overall and live seven to nine years longer on average (Graham).
In the words of C.S. Lewis in Four Loves:
Friendship arises out of mere Companionship when two or more of the companions discover that they have in common some insight or interest or even taste which the others do not share and which, till that moment, each believed to be his own unique treasure (or burden). The typical expression of opening Friendship would be something like, “What? You too? I thought I was the only one.” … It is when two such persons discover one another, when, whether with immense difficulties and semi-articulate fumblings or with what would seem to us amazing and elliptical speed, they share their vision – it is then that Friendship is born. And instantly they stand together in an immense solitude.
And so is the beginning of a journey together.
I remember quite vividly and with great reverence my first best friend. I was in seventh grade when we met. The first time I went to her house a few weeks later, we walked to a creek and searched for rocks that we could wash and admire together. It was with great relief and surprise that I realized I had found a kindred spirit- a lover of rocks and the magic of the world to give them to us.
Finding delicate pink petals
on a brisk, fall day-
tastes of spring’s sweetness while on the autumn brink
I have on on-going series about my gratitude practice called Beautiful Moments. Click here to see many more examples of this practice.