As much as I love and enjoy the holidays, I’m always glad to get back to my regular life. I really missed all of you; I get lonely when I don’t blog. I’d think of about 10,000 things I wanted to tell you, but the timing always seemed wrong. Real life is forever getting in the way, it seems.
First order of business, we’re back to our weekly contest as of today. Two winners, chosen at random, will be notified and announced here on the blog next Monday morning. All you have to do is comment, and you’re entered. Each winner will be awarded an autographed copy of one of my books.
Second order of business, some of you will recall the book I mentioned on the blog several weeks ago, Melody Beattie’s wonderful, “Make Miracles in 40 Days”. (Ms. Beattie very generously gives permission in the book to pass on the ideas or even teach the process, so I’m giving you more information than I would otherwise. No one appreciates copyright laws more than another writer!) The process involves keeping a gratitude list, which I was already doing, but with a twist: you express thankfulness for things you perceive as bad or annoying or whatever, as well as the good things. As Ms. Beattie states, you don’t have to really FEEL thankful, you just have to say thank you. Anyway, I started on November 22, and reached Day 40 on December 31, and trust me, this was a memorable journey–one I plan to continue indefinitely. When I started, I was surprised to find out how many things I felt very UNgrateful for, especially when I’d been keeping a gratitude journal faithfully for months and considered myself a pretty positive person, all things considered. In for a penny, in for a pound; I gritted my teeth and wrote those things down, and I was AMAZED by how freeing that simple exercise really was. In fact, it was downright therapeutic Gradually, the ingratitude gave way to the true article, and I found my entries were longer and deeper–a kindness someone had extended, an insight while journaling, a book I found especially helpful, AND the ability, finally, to actually meditate, regularly and deeply. (Another story, with gifts of its own.) If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you might recall how hard it was for me to settle down long enough to be effective.
On or before Day 1, decide what miracles you would like to see happen in your life, and write them down. (Don’t show them to anybody, and don’t talk about them. This is your private stuff.) Go ahead, get crazy. Make one big wish, however grand, along with as many small to medium ones as you’d like. Next, start that gratitude list–I used a Molekine-like journal I found at Barnes and Noble for $5.95, but a 99 cent composition book would work just as well. Write down the things you ARE grateful for, along with the ones you’d really rather hadn’t happened at all. Don’t be afraid to vent: God can take it. Keep it up for 40 days–I usually have about 10 items on my day’s list, but that’s just a number–you should have at least 5, though. If you’re like me, you’ll find this exercise so valuable and so healing that you never want it to end.
It’s important to remember that you may not get your big miracle in 40 days–things take time. It will happen, or you’ll be guided to something much better (God has a way of doing that), that you hadn’t even conceived of before. My experience has been that I’ve made great progress in the direction of mine, most of it internal–which is, after all, where all outer manifestations begin. I like to compare it to my tulip and daffodil bulbs, currently buried under cold dirt and a considerable amount of snow, with the magic of spring beginning to stir inside them–seems to me, dreams are like that, too. They might be buried deep, but the magic is there, and when the time is right, voila! Like the tulips and daffodils, dreams break through the ground, sprout, and burst with color.