Welcomed and recorded
“Each thought that is welcomed and recorded is a nest egg, by the side of which more will be laid” — Henry David Thoreau
For me, writing is an effective way to train my thinking. I find that most people give more thought to what they write than to what they say, and this may be why some are more fond of talking than of writing. Others are naturally silent, neither speaking nor writing much other than what is necessary to get through the day. But either way, Thoreau’s analogy is an apt description of what happens when we take the time to record the best of our thoughts.
A number of authors have advised keeping a gratitude journal, wherein one records specific items that inspire feelings of thankfulness each day. I have done this at times, and do find that it is helpful, particularly during stress or grief. No matter how bad things get, we can always list reasons to be grateful. These notes might mention anything from a sunny day, to a reliable appliance, to a loving and supportive friend who visits in person or by email. It’s especially helpful to note what one tends to take for granted, such as electricity or hot and cold running water; conveniences we don’t notice until a power failure takes them away temporarily.
In recording happy details, we capture and preserve fleeting glimpses of the everyday joys that enrich our lives. Years later, reading back over gratitude journals, I discover forgotten blessings and moments of grace that would have been lost to me if I had not recorded them.
Even if you do not usually write much, try keeping a record of welcome thoughts. As Thoreau suggests, one thought will lead to another, and in time will produce beautiful songs and the freedom to take wing and fly.
This post was originally published seven years ago today. You can view the original with comments here.