The Pillowbook of Prudence

As new subscribers may not know, I just want to explain what the pillowbook is. Last year I read an ancient Japanese journal entitled The Pillowbook of Sei Shonagon. It was filled with observations, witticisms, self-denigration and acerbic comment. Thus I decided to create my own journal for the blog and you’ll see it pop up every now and then. Really it’s just a bedtime diary …

On being grateful:

A friend wrote to me yesterday and I was struck by a small paragraph in her letter where she observed how she felt about exactly where she was in her life.  It was filled with such gratitude and contentment and it prompted the idea of this latest Pillowbook entry.

Being grateful for the day takes effort and observation.  It can be easily swamped by the negatives and each evening I take a pen (one of my favourites) and I open a tiny (red) notebook. I jot down five things for which I can be grateful. This habit began a number of years ago when Oprah Winfrey whom I admire greatly, talked about the need to recognise the gifts in any one day.

The obvious ones are always family, dogs and friends so I try not to jot those down. I make myself look further and examine things  in more detail.

This is what today produced:

1. The most wonderfully heartwarming comment on my fan-fiction novel “Gisborne’ and new subscriptions to the blog from all across the world and the evident friendship involved in that.

2. Being in ‘House’ (the cottage),

'House...and I have a realtionship.'

because ‘House’ and I have a unique and close relationship, it being my healing place as well as my spiritual and creative space.

3. The Wonder Dog being so renewed and revived. (I had to include this, even though it was about a dog, but the Wonder Dog has been terribly below par and ill)

'The Wonder Dog revived...'

4. Hearing the waves breaking.

5. Feeling utterly content with my life.

It is enough to list five perfect ones than ten mediocre. Better that the day passes with a half-full glass than a half-empty one.

And because it is a Pillowbook Day, it’s important to mention colour and life. I will not wear black, as you all know by now. Instead I shall wear a white polo-shirt and denims. It is more redolent of summer than the black that stalks the city streets day in, day out seasons not withstanding, and it is much more in keeping with me and what I represent to myself.

And as I walk the dogs on the beach, I shall take note of the waves as they wash over my feet and I shall beach-comb for shells and if I am really lucky, I shall swim and listen to the voices of the undersea creatures. A day for gratitude.