I’ve mentioned before that I’ve maintained a pretty sustained gratitude practice — every night for about 16 years now. It really has changed my life. And for the past 3 years or so, I’ve also been an avid journaller. So it might surprise you to hear that I’ve never made my own gratitude journal, even though I fully and enthusiastically support the idea of one.
I’ve always meant to, of course. But I feel like I spend a helluva lot of time on my own journal, and my blog, that really, starting a separate gratitude journal would seem a bit … well, gratuitous.
Then I stumbled across this really lovely little video by Hailey Bartholomew:
I LOVE the simplicity of her journal, using her Polaroid. Isn’t it just beautiful? It totally inspires me to create my own journal. One problem: I don’t have a Polaroid camera. And while I certainly have a lot of fancy digital cameras, I always feel like with all of the adjustments and settings that I fiddle with when I take a shot, that only proper film processing will do for the result.
Which of course, requires that I pull up the image in Photoshop, make my adjustments, make sure the images get printed professionally …
… so yeah, needless to say, it never happens. Unless I can have the immediacy of a Polaroid, what’s the point?
I’ve been using Instagram for a while now, having fallen in love with the processing on the fly, and the immediacy with which photographs can be shared on various social media sites. But it dawned on me this past week, as I was shooting the images above, then when I do stop to take a shot, more often than not it’s because I’m grateful for the subjects. For example, as shown in the images above, I was grateful for the morning sun during my morning commute. I was grateful for friends who would put moustaches on with me and act the fool. I was grateful for running across spiral notebooks that made me laugh.
And when you think about it, if you’ve been using Instagram (or just your camera phone), you’ve likely been taking photographs of things you’ve been grateful for too. I mean, think about it: when was the last time you saw someone post one of their camera phone photos on Facebook as evidence of a complaint? It’s my experience that people take and share photos of things in their lives that make them smile. That bring them joy.
That make them thankful.
So I’ve made myself a little promise: from now on, once a week, while I’m sitting in front of the television watching a home movie with my family (we do that a lot), I’m going to make a point to print these camerap hone photos — just on regular office paper; since it’s a camera phone, no need to get fancy — and just glue them in my journal. Like this:
And underneath each photograph, I’m going to jot a note about when the photograph was taken, and why I’m grateful for it.
Voilá, instant gratitude journal — and it hardly takes any time at all. What it lacks in perfection, it makes up for in charm (I hope). And one day a long time from now, I’ll look on these pages as an amazing record of the good that is in my day-to-day life.
Do you journal what you’re grateful for? Do you ever print your camera phone photos?
Dude. You totally should.
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