Giggles, Gobbles and Gulps is a play on the words Laugh, Eat and Drink and while this is primarily a food and drink blog, I occasionally throw in a dash of life. Today’s post is very much a dash of life.
I am about to talk about something often overlooked – gratitude.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I read a book on savoring life’s simplicities over 15 years ago. The book was called Simple Abundance. I learned of this book in 1996 when it was selected as part of Oprah Winfrey’s Book Club. I was almost 20 years old and a junior in college studying psychology and dabbling in writing. It was a rather mature book for a single, broke teenager but there was something about this book that drew me in. I have been referred to as an old-soul my entire life and even at the young age of 19 I knew this book would serve a purpose in my life. I have been inspired by this book ever since and still to this day it is one of my most cherished treasures.
Amazon best describes this book, “Simple Abundance is a book of 366 evocative essays-one for every day of your year-written for women who wish to live by their own lights. In the past a woman’s spirituality has been separated from her lifestyle. Simple Abundance shows you how your daily life can be an expression of your authentic self … as you choose the tastiest vegetables from your garden, search for treasures at flea markets, establish a sacred space in your home for meditation, and follow the rhythm of the seasons and the year… Every day, your own true path leads you to a happier, more fulfilling and contented way of life-the state of grace known as… Embrace its gentle lessons, savor its sublime common sense, dare to live its passionate truth, and share its extraordinary and exhilarating gift with every woman you encounter: the authentic self is the Soul made visible.”
Essentially it is a day-book where you are supposed to read a passage every day and reflect on its purpose and meaning and how to incorporate the teachings into your everyday life. It is not a religious book. Although there is a certain level of spirituality in the book, the spirituality is undefined; the spirituality is yours to create.
One of the guiding principles of the Simple Abundance journey is to start a gratitude journal. This journal is a place where you reflect daily on the things you are most grateful for that day. Some can be simple, like showing gratitude for coffee, and some can be more complex – gratitude for a supportive spouse, a loving friend or your health. Even on the roughest of days, gratitude can be as honest as, “I am grateful this day is over and I can start a new one tomorrow.”
I have been on the Simple Abundance path on and off for over 15 years. I have yet to make it through an entire year of following the readings and journaling my gratitude. For example, I have put the book down in the Spring and started it back up again in the Fall. For me, it doesn’t matter how committed I am to finishing the book. What matters most is I am still committed to the journey.
The Simple Abundance book and journey has helped me during all phases of my life. Through moments of great joy and moments of great sorrow. The journey is also something that I keep very private. I am a work in progress and the Simple Abundance experience exposes those areas in your personal self which need more attention. The journey encourages you to look deeply at yourself and what makes you happy. There are times when the journey is not very pleasant but the most important things in life aren’t always the easiest.
I have not physically written in a gratitude journal in years. I mostly express my gratitude internally, in my mind, each day as I move between tasks. Honestly, some days are easier than others. But today, I am asking you to join me on a gratitude journey. A journey that will take us through the month of November where each day I will post on my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/gigglesgobblesandgulps) and on my Twitter @GigGobGulp, my reflection of gratitude for that day. I encourage you to then comment on my gratitude with your own reflection of gratitude.
It will feel odd and unnatural to publicly share your inner, most sacred thoughts – I get it – but you will be amazed at how positive the experience will be and how your perspective will change over the 30 days. By no means am I an expert nor do I have it all figured out. Even today, as I write this, I am struggling with some not-so-grateful moments and also struggling with listening to my inner self. In many ways, this blog is one step towards honoring my authentic self.
So today, November 1st, marks the first day in the 30-day gratitude journey. I will start.
I am grateful for many things. Like most wives and mothers I am grateful for my wonderfully patient, sometimes tough, but always supportive husband; I am grateful for my two wild boys who sometimes drive me crazy and keep me ready for anything; and I am grateful for my family, my close friends and my two little furry friends. Those are a given and need to be honored, but in the spirit of the 30-day gratitude journey I will share just one for today.
Today I am grateful for resilience. For my own personal resilience, for overcoming what has been one of the emotionally painful years of my life; and for the resilience of my home, New Jersey. As I see the devastation that Hurricane Sandy has caused throughout some of my most beloved communities I am grateful to know we have the resilience it takes to overcome the destruction, rebuild and look towards the future.
What are you grateful for today? Come on, join me.