Gratitude Journal

I have started a gratitude journal.
Based on the promptings of Karl from the website Bring Gratitude.


I have tried this many times in my life, but this one is profound. It is really hitting me where I need it.
The difference is, not only do you state what you are grateful for, but also state why. This takes it deeper into our feelings, and we connect with it more.

I also find my body relaxing. As I mentioned in my previous post, I struggle with feeling safe enough to uncurl my senses and my body. I think I live life in a perpetual wince, guarded against the next blow to my senses. This is natural as I have a hypersensitive system, but I also think I feed into this in a negative way, by being a perfectionist, as I focus on the details that are incorrect in my life. The details that need fixing.

My gratitude journal is allowing me to unbox this a little because it is absolutely the opposite. Kind of the antidote if you will. Because it still makes use of my detail minded brain I can really get behind it. It taps in to my natural way of being, but this time focussing on the positive, on all the things that are going right. And truth to tell there are many more things going right than wrong. So the perpetual tensing is actually not necessary most of the time.
What a waste!

So I am using this new tool to help me learn about my environment in a new way. To tell myself it is safe to unfurl, to open to life because on the whole it is good. People are friendly, and things have a way of working out, even if not to my timetable. Sure things can be too loud and grating on my senses causing me to shut down. But I can't stay shut. I need to allow myself time and space to unfurl. Otherwise I will miss all the beauty and music and light.


Do you relate to this?
Have you ever done a Gratitude Journal? How did you feel?

Safety

I have been musing on the concept of "safety". I believe this is one of my basic needs, well don't we all want to be safe?
I need to feel safe to allow me to connect in to the flow of life, to feel in harmony. I need a sense of peace to allow my senses to unfurl safely, a rarity in this autistic body.
As an autistic person I spend my life tensing against perceived threats. Due to my sensitive senses and hyperactive nervous system, my body reacts to the world intensely.
I need to prioritise healing, to allow my own safety.




Minimalism, prioritising, and decluttering are ways forward.
One of the filtering questions I have heard in minimalism is "Do I need this now?"
This fosters a sense of presence, a living in the current moment, not worrying about the past or the future.
Unexpectedly, as I ask this question I am imbued with a sense of gratitude as I answer "Yes". Allowing me to appreciate all I have that supports my life.


Over Easter I had the sublime experience of walking out of time into our property "Heartwoods".
How restorative it was to read a book instead of flicking through short videos. I find it leads to simple deep learning. Allowing my brain to consider and contemplate between times.
Reading about something deep and calming such as the wider story of minimalism which addresses our mindset and soul needs allows me to experience slowing down of my system, which imbues a sense of safety.
It is such a great mantra for me "Slow Down". Do you need the pedal to the metal ALL the time?
As an extension to the previous question, I am also asking myself "Do I need to do this now"?


What is safety anyway? Is it an illusion?
When do we know we are safe?
Do we ever know?
I think the answer to this is very individual. Each person will draw the lines in different places according to their story.


I think we can wind ourselves up into tight little balls like slaters and then forget to unwind when the danger is past. What a waste of a life.
But we need to feel safe to start the process of unwinding.
I think self care is very important for me in this.
Some of my self care moments are: reading(obviously), watching movies, physical pampering, taking time out in nature, and writing poetry,
And recently, increasingly, feeling grateful.





Vulnerability

Vulnerability is a funny idea.
Be vulnerable and others will reciprocate. We create a space for vulnerability.
It can be the opposite of what we expect or strive for. We become less to become more, to speak our truth into the world.
We need to tell our stories encouraging others to tell theirs.
We discovered this during our mother's group. We were all feeling overwhelmed at having to clean the house before the group came over, but we all did it. One person needed to lead the way and be vulnerable, showing their truth and that would have opened the door for others to be honest.



Is it possible to be too vulnerable?

Showing our soft underbelly? Throwing pearls before swine?
This is something I find very hard to judge in my autistic mind. Something is either on or off. I either talk about myself or I don't. The finer nuances are beyond me.
So often I will feel like I've overshared but not sure. Worried I haven't judged the situation correctly.
Is there such a thing as oversharing?


My extreme sensory system leaves me feeling vulnerable often. I feel like the world is attacking me.
I am counselled to work out how to put up barriers to protect myself, but I haven't been very successful so far.


How to bring more vulnerability into your life?
Take the time to show more of ourselves in communication situations. Tell the truth when someone asks the formulaic "How are you?" or "How was your weekend?'
Tell your family when you are finding things hard and need some help.


But on the whole I feel vulnerability is worth it.
There is a strength in showing weakness. A contradictory truth.
If we all keep our facades up, our society is weaker because we never know each other.


It leaves us communicating in a purer way. Soul to soul, without defences. My truth to your truth, and that has to be a good thing.