Just like I exercise to keep my body limber, I believe in exercises that stretch me spiritually. Whether or not I’m in a good place emotionally or mentally, focusing on what I can do to make myself a better person is the stuff good growth is made of.
A few years ago I challenged myself to write down a few things a day I was grateful for. Even though it may not seem so, some days it was hard to come up with one thing. Some days I had a longer list; those were good days.
As I kept up this exercise, I found it became easier and easier to recognize things I could be grateful for. The sunrise, a good meal, time with my kids or husband, a joke that made me laugh out loud; these made my list. I kept an inexpensive journal next to my bed and tried to write something worthwhile each night. What all this brought about was a shift. A shift in thinking how really lucky I was to have so many blessings and grace in my life.
My next exercise challenge was three things a day. This challenge was to do three things a day for someone (any one’s) welfare but not to tell anyone else about it. This was definitely a challenge. I am a good talker and storyteller- wanna -be.
So I put coins in parking meters that were about to expire, I lit candles in church for someone who was suffering, I mailed personal notes of love or encouragement to friends. I gave canned goods to the food bank, smiled at strangers and said have a wonderful day! I offered my arm to someone older who needed the stability to cross the street.
The reward? A serious reduction in the world revolving around me. Also, a shift in Ego, the loud mouth in my brain who likes to say “It’s all about me baby!”. Extra reward: peace, serenity, balance.
I still do things every day that I don’t tell anyone about. I figure it’s between me and God. She knows. She smiles down on me and keeps me going in the right direction. She gave me some extra responsibilities lately and I’m trying to show her I’m up to the task. Obviously, she believes in me.