All I can hear are my thoughts. The forest surrounds me on my accent to the top of the mountain. The Earth crunches beneath each step I take, always moving forward. The days come and go. The darkness of each day leaves subtle reminders of its presence and power. I feel lost despite only just beginning. It is a story of overcoming, adventure, and gratitude.
I started writing about gratitude because of my depression. I needed to fight my inner darkness one way or another and was desperate for a solution. I saw writing as a positive outlet for my thoughts and feelings and was interested in something different. “Why not start a blog?” I thought. I needed a way to hold myself accountable, and I knew others struggle with mental battles similar to my own. The Gratitude Journal evolved over time. I connected with fellow bloggers and found a new community. I shared posts with friends and families that responded with gratitude lists of their own. I was inspired by loved ones and mentors to keep moving forward.
I took The Gratitude Journal with me everywhere I went. Each moment from the start, intertwined with lessons learned and celebrated breaths. I brought The Gratitude Journal with me abroad. I traveled to places I have only dreamed of visiting. Despite my feelings of fear and uncertainty, I framed my experiences with gratitude and appreciation. I sat silently in the black sand and watched the waves leave the shores of Iceland, listening to wind howl and sing. I walked the streets of London, in tune with the beat of the city and the life of the summer sun.
I came home energized and eager to start my last year of my Master’s degree. Gratitude, still a present thought, had taken on a new form. Gratitude needed to be more than just a collective appreciation of fond memories and busy days. I had to learn to be grateful for pieces of myself that I had previously scrutinized and detested. Especially, if I was going to have gratitude for everything else. I possessed a renewed thankfulness for my past and present. Although at times I struggled to find balance in my routine and posted less consistently, the skills I learned were ever present. Gratitude is many things. I have learned gratitude starts with a breathe. It is an anchor to the present moment and a tool against the darkness. Its power grows when shared with others and can be communicated in many ways, both big and small.
Looking through old entries at quotes, stories, and pictures, I feel joy. In some ways, I never saw the end until it arrived. I was so ingrained in my process that the end result was never what was most important. I am proud I got to celebrate milestones, birthdays, adventures, and friends along the way. Although this chapter may be coming to a close, I will still carry The Gratitude Journal with me on my journey.
I stand at my mountain top, my chest rising and shrinking with each breath. The horizon gleams in the distance, each ray of sun reflecting off of rain covered trees. My vision clears and I see new peaks and valleys, invisible from the base of my climb. I stop to rest and reflect but my muscles and bones ache for the familiar and constant pain of the trail. New mountains call out, signal flares of opportunity rocket to the dusk-colored curtain above my head. The stars peek through. A chance to begin again, guided by gratitude.
Today I’m Grateful For…
- My family
- Worldly experiences and safe travels
- Frank and Holly, for teaching me about my process
- Exercise to clear my head and help me breathe
- Learning to ‘be myself’
- Teachers, Mentors, and Coaches, that pushed me to be my best
- Being a part of something bigger than myself
- The Good Days and the Bad Days
- Name tags, Helen’s Tree, and late night talks on the steps of Boyden
- Rain, for its touch brings new life and the sound brings me sleep
- A peanut butter sandwich when I need it
- Sharing music with friends
- My cat Ned, for his company and intelligence
- Late night ice cream, always
- Pickup soccer on Tuesdays
- Chasing the sunrise before school
- World cup games and perfect pronunciations
- Comfy pillows and warm blankets
- Tattoo stories and reasons why
- Quiet talks and fall colors at Horn Pond
- Hope for the future
- Space and time to journal and recharge
- Home cooked meals and cooking together
- Shared values and going deeper
- The precious present, for it, is a gift
As always, check out my first blog 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I’m writing this list and why I want you to start yours.