No matter how tired I was at the end of a 12-hour rowing day on the ocean, I always posted a blog entry. It took discipline – it was desperately uncomfortable sitting hunched over a laptop in my cramped cabin while the boat tipped and yawed – but I was always happy that I’d done it.

Not only did it create a channel between me and the folks following back at home, but it also gave me a chance to reflect on the day as a whole. Often the last shift would have been a struggle, the devil on one shoulder pointing out how tired I was feeling and wouldn’t it be lovely to go to bed, while the angel on the other shoulder wagged her finger and reminded me that my future self would be grateful to my present self for carrying on. So my mood, by the time I retired to my cabin, was not always sunny.

But writing the blog post would give me a perspective on the day, as I thought back to the glorious sunrise, the a-ha moment I had mid-morning, the delicious lunch of freshly grown beansprouts, the fun I’d had in the afternoon recording the latest podcast episode with Leo Laporte via satellite phone, the sighting of a whale. It became a kind of gratitude practice, an opportunity to focus on the positive.

gratitude-happiness-2I still do my gratitude practice today, jotting down some notes in a Moleskine notebook (or in the Gratitude app on my iPhone) every night about the good stuff that has happened during the day. If you believe, as I do, that we create our reality from the inside out, then paying attention to the positive wires us to expect – and therefore get – more of what we want.

And here’s a funny thing. Now, 10 years after I rowed my first ocean, I’m also grateful for all the “bad” stuff that happened during that voyage, because it was the challenges and suffering that taught me the most – about who I am and what I’m capable of.

So now I also try to find it in my heart to be grateful for the things I didn’t think I wanted, those damned “opportunities for growth” that may seem like a pain in the neck now, but if treated right, are all grist to the mill of my evolution. It’s all information. It’s all feedback. From this perspective, nothing is bad – it’s all good.

 

 

12 Comments

  • Loved to read your blog from the previous day when I got into the office each morning, Roz. Felt I was sort of there in the boat with you (but not rowing – that was your job!!). And I’m sure that was the same for all your Rozlings!!!

    • Twenty years ago, I regarded myself as one of the healthiest people on the planet. I was on the top of my oompetitive running game and lived in Hawaii–perhaps the healthiest place in the world. Then my dermatologist told me I may have advanced melanoma. For five days I envisioned the chief physician looking me in the eye and saying, “Mr. Wiig, you have six months to live.” Instead, he said, “the (cancer cell) margins are clear (but we want to cut a heck of a lot more out of you.)” Instead, I got on a super-health bandwagon and, at age 75, rise at 4:15 AM, do a powerful gym workout, am in the office by 7;15 when it’s peaceful, and do meditation and plan my day. My speciality of energy codes manager, I participate in national code hearings and help America reduce its energy bills by billions of dollars, and dramatically reduce CO2 emissions. That melanoma scare got me on a super-healthy lifestyle, and I’m in eternal gratitude for that scare, which was the wake up call of my life!

      • Wow, Howard – that is a tremendously inspiring story! Thanks for sharing – and thanks for the fantastic work you do to help head off drastic climate change.

  • Congratulations for your ocean adventures’tenth anniversary! My daily gratitude moment happens mostly in the evening before falling asleep, expressing thankful thoughts to an unknown powerful source that I secreatly wish to be a female one: I call it the great MOTHER (GAIA ?) !!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts

    • Gaia most definitely deserves our appreciation! How rarely do we pause to be grateful for all the miracles of the natural world – not least sunshine, photosynthesis, the cycle of the seasons, wildlife, beauty, and food (well, some foods anyway – some others seem to have very little to do with nature!).

  • My gratitude journal has pulled me out of the depths of “the nuclear blues” (when you are overcome with the perception that the whole world is inexorably going to hell in a hand basket, the arc of justice is way, way too long, and all your efforts to make peace are for naught) many times over the years. When I start listing the things I have to be grateful for, even starting with the smallest things (like, I woke up this morning with all my body parts automatically functioning – oh, wait, that’s not small!) I get back to a better perspective: how lucky I am, I really do have resources to keep going …. Never fails.

    • Beautifully said, Melinda! I love what you wrote about the miracle of having a well-functioning body – the more I learn about the body, the more amazed I am that it works so well, so much of the time. And yet we usually only notice and appreciate it when it plays up.

  • Great timing on your thoughts. I just applied for a education position on a ship that includes posting on a web site each day. I must admit that I was thinking that could be such a hassle to do each day. After all the boat might be rolling around and I could be tired. Poor me I don’t want to sit down at a comfortable desk to work on a computer after eating a good meal that was prepared by others who then cleaned up after me. After reading your comments about being on a small boat is a even smaller cabin it puts my concerns out to sea so to speak. Thanks for the perspective.

    • You’re so very welcome, and I wish you all the joys of blogging! The other great thing about it, of course, was receiving the responses and words of encouragement from my readers – truly something to be grateful for!

  • I was thinking about my daughter who has adolescent problems when I saw your blog.I was depressed and pessimistic.But something unusual happened when I finished to read your blog:I started to concentrate on good changes about her .I recalled how much difficulties we got through and finally I looked at the world from a different window.

    I did not only realize this but I also realized how quick I could get demoralized My mother kept saying this to me since my childhood.

    I have already started writing a gratitude journal.But through your blog,I am more aware of the importance of keeping a journal.This prevents me from falling into a big moral velocity.

    Thank you very much.

    • You’re so very welcome, Akif! And thanks for the reminder that even (especially?!) adolescents offer us opportunities to be grateful.

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