I have encountered a lot of people lamenting their feelings of restlessness, desiring change and wanting more meaning and fulfillment in their lives. Striking a chord within me as well, I thought perhaps it’s the dead of winter and we are all longing for spring, a time of renewal? The common thread that seemed to be pulling these discussions together was the notion of feeling stuck, plodding through the motions of daily life and unsure of how to find the answers leading to greater happiness and meaning.
While we all have the best intentions to take more time for ourselves, life and the responsibilities of work, home and family always seem to take precedence while our personal needs take the back seat. Once we realize where we are – far from our own deep spiritual connection with the universe, how do we find our way back?
Feelings of restlessness or the sense that we are “missing our greater purpose” can often be found in the need to become reconnected with our divine inner spirit. I have found one of the most consistent and enjoyable ways to stay centered and grounded is to count the blessings in my life. I have been keeping a gratitude journal for over 3 years. Every night when I crawl into bed, I take a few deep cleansing breaths, clear my mind of the day’s clutter and become quiet within. Within this reflective place, I take stock of my day. I focus on the positive things that happened to me and enter those in the journal. I start each entry with “Today I am grateful for”… and begin listing all the blessings that I encountered throughout the day.
When I first endeavored to begin my gratitude journal, it was somewhat daunting and a challenge trying to find good in some otherwise not so good days. When I look back at the initial entries, they were pretty basic, but none the less important, for example, I would enter, I am grateful for my home, my job, my family. As time went on, I found myself looking forward to my journaling time each evening. It has become a time where I can look within, clearly and honestly and be able to count the abundance of blessings for what I have, what I desire and most importantly, honoring and acknowledging all the good in my life. Blessings are not only for what we receive, but what we can impart to others. I often find my heart overflowing with all the abundance when putting my blessings to paper and this simple act often takes me away from the disconnected feeling I may have been experiencing that day.
I have found that expressing gratitude and counting my blessings has also dramatically changed my outlook on life, on my relationships and my overall perspective of “my greater purpose” in life. Gratitude offers a conscious awareness of focusing on what you do have rather than what you don’t and I have found that expressing gratitude brings more to be thankful for and a richness to my life that is always with me now.
My gratitude journal inspires me to focus on the positive more than the negative each day. I welcome new opportunities with excitement and think to myself, I need to write this in my gratitude journal tonight! On many days, I can’t even wait to write in my journal. I stop what I am doing and give thanks to the universe for whatever blessing I’m experiencing right then and there!
Expressing gratitude is a powerful tool that aligns with the universal law of attraction. To that which you are grateful, the universe responds by attracting more of those good things to you. This applies as much to challenges and problems we encounter as it does the good things that come into our lives. I discovered not too long ago, that my perception on how I approach difficulties has changed dramatically. The change occurred ever so subtly that I surprised myself with this realization. All the frustration and complications that used to come with challenges is no longer there. I see challenges presented to me as gifts from the universe. It becomes an opportunity to grow, learn a new skill and to advance both emotionally and spiritually. When faced with a challenge, I even find myself saying ok universe, you really threw a good one at me this time. What do I need to learn from this? As my focus changed, so did my energy. Staying positive and grateful raises your vibration and provides you with the tools you need to tackle a problem. As I work through the challenge, I express gratitude for each step of the process, for what I have gained by the experience and for who I am for having come through it. Each step forward is a step towards something bigger and something better than the current situation you find yourself in. Gratitude helps you grow and expand and the happiness you experience from that can enrich your life and the lives of others. Being able to express appreciation for moving through obstacles and gleaning what is to be learned from it, you won’t be attracting any more of those challenges into your life!
Over time, I have found my gratitude journal is much like peeling an onion. Each day offers a new layer of self-discovery, full of reward and appreciation for the infinite possibilities available to me. It also provides a special, dedicated quiet time to connect with my inner spirit. It is a time to offer my deep appreciation to the universe for all the good and yes, even the challenges – all through the simple act of counting my blessings.
Karen Phillips is a holistic nurse practitioner. She works with animals and their humans “healing both ends of the leash” using Healing Touch® energy therapy for health and behavioral issues and for preventative care. She lives in Centennial Colorado. To contact her to learn more about Healing Touch®, she can be reached at (303) 995-6677 or by email at