How lists and diaries bring me joy!

A list of things that make me smile
The high call of a circling buzzard,
Heady smell of wild garlic – spring is coming!
Embers glowing in the last of a woodland fire,
Sweet peas greeting me home and
Evening sunlight spread richly across golden wheat fields.
Blackberries waiting to be picked,
Red wine on a dark night,
Intense stare of a robin,
Nine long-tailed tits jostling for position and
Grey storm clouds marbled over blue skies
Mist dancing with the warmth of morning and
Exploring unknown places.
Journeys with the windows down,
Ocean waves and a fresh breeze, and finally
Young, green leaves appearing on bare trees!

Here in Vienna the last couple of days the weather has warmed somewhat and the evidence of spring has rapidly appeared. As I took walks up in the woods, the ground is covered with wild garlic and spring woodland flowers. Coming back from a weekend away in Denmark, the tree outside the front of the flat has exploded with young green leaves. It happened so quickly! ‘I am sure it wasn’t like that when we left on Friday?’ I thought to myself. While we were away at the weekend, we spent a bit of time on the beaches looking out to sea and dreaming of distant horizons. SOOO… I am excited. I love this time of year. It has a newness, a possibility and an intoxicating freshness to it.

In my excitement, I thought about all the things that I find joyful – the things that make me smile, so I sat down in my favourite place with my lovely journal and I wrote a list!

It is a positive thing to write out lists, particularly of good, exciting things. It can be so easy to forget the positive moments in life. It is for me! I have a bad habit of sinking into the mud of ‘woe is me’ and playing the record ‘nothing works out for me’. That’s why I write lists at moments of joy just so I can go back and read them on less bright days.

I have also started a one line a day diary – a five year memory book. It is brilliant! The diary has a page for each day of the year and each day is divided into five spaces. I am now in my second year of sentence writing and it had been fascinating to remember and compare what was happening the previous year. ‘Oh this time last year, we were… my that seems like yesterday!’ I have said to myself. I get quite excited by it all.

This small disciple of writing a sentence a day, has helped me to see patterns in my emotions that seem to repeat at certain times of the year. It was my partner, Chris, who first made me aware of this emotional pattern and I didn’t really believe him. Now reading my five-year diary, I am beginning to see evidence of my emotional dips and you know what?  It actually makes the low mood moment less isolating, because I know this has happened before. I have found this little book, to be a strangely useful tool in managing my emotional well-being.

Perhaps this practise of writing positive lists or keep a five year sentence a day diary would be helpful to your own mindful practise… and fun too!