About a year ago when she “was feeling down,” Sister Dolores Folz received a suggestion from a friend that has turned into a helpful and meaningful ritual.
Every night, Sister Dolores tries to reflect back on her day and ease her mind by concentrating on a most appropriate word – GLAD. She uses the word as an acronym, with the letters standing for Gratitude, Learning, Accomplishment, and Delight. She tries to come up with an example of each that happened that day: What am I grateful for today? What did I learn today? What have I accomplished today? What did I delight in today?
“I have found the practice helpful in raising my awareness of the good things in life, things I too often take for granted,” says Sister Dolores, who works in centralized purchasing and as cars supervisor for the sisters. “It’s particularly helpful if a day has not gone exactly how I planned, or hoped for. It also has made me aware of how I continue to learn new things, even when I’m in my 70s.”
Some of her more memorable examples:
· Gratitude: She was especially aware of this recently upon the death of her brother, being grateful for his life and the warmth and support that came from family, friends, and community.
· Learning: How to navigate Louisville traffic when taking a sister to her medical appointments.
· Accomplishment: Getting the monastery annex storage areas cleaned out and having a successful yard sale in a relatively short time.
· Delight: The colors of spring – the blooming trees, daffodils, tulips, and delicate greens. Or a cat’s soft fur and the songs of birds.
Sister Dolores usually incorporates the exercise into her evening prayer practice, when she’s winding down from the day and preparing for sleep. “I just take a few minutes to think back over the day. One thing that maybe surprised me is how much there is that is delightful in this world, even with all the stuff that is going on. Time and again I come back to the color that’s all around us.”
She found the practice so helpful that she shared it with some fellow sisters at their dining table in the monastery one evening. At least one, Sister Karen Joseph, began trying the ritual herself. Sister Karen also explained the routine during a recent presentation to 30 managers and directors of Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center of Jasper, Indiana.
“Maybe other people will find it helpful, too,” says Sister Dolores.