Thursday, November 22, 2012

What gratitude is not

I started a gratitude journal last week, an online, community journal in the Interdependence Project website.  I started it because my dear friend was singing the praises of gratitude and its effects, urging everyone to start journals. I knew I would not do that in my paper journal and keep it up because I felt the internal sneer at what seemed to be creeping Pollyannaishness. My inclination is to see clearly, and you're not seeing clearly through rose-colored glasses.

But ... faced with the genuineness of her endorsement, I decided to give it a try. I proposed, then created, a community gratitude journal, where those of use who are too cool for school could participate in the company of peers. With a wink and shrug ... I'm doing this to please my peeps.

It very quickly changed for me. Within a day or so, seeing others' open-hearted lists, my heart also began to open. I began looking for things to feel grateful for throughout my day. My attitude of gratitude felt lighter than my I'm-meeting-someone-here, not really part of things mask.

Then, someone posted a link to that days' journal on Facebook and said, "It may be cheesy, but ..."

And the weight of snark came down. I understood the attitude. I started in a similar spot, posting my thoughts with a wink. Then, as others posted authentic feelings, it became safe for me. I could be playful. I could be serious. I could lay out what truly touched my heart.

When you touch your heart, you know it's not cheese. It's raw, it's bloody, it expands and contracts and quivers. It reaches out to others.

Cheese is in the eyes of the beholder -- and the smirk and the snark. Lay it down, clown, and feel your heart and what it responds to. That is what to be grateful for -- the things that touch you, and the willingness to be touched.

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