Last night I found my dusty 2016 gratitude jar under a pile of odds and ends on my bedside table. A few dozen yellow quarter-sheets of paper rested inside. When had I last written one of those? I remembered starting the jar early in 2016 and had anticipated opening it on New Year’s Eve and savoring the memories of the year that was slipping away. Somehow, though, once I ran through my stack of pre-cut paper, I stopped adding to the jar. I suspect my last entry was written well before February ended. Clearly, I wasn’t fully committed to the endeavor. Looking at the jar now, I’m disappointed that I didn’t stick with it,that this habit never formed, and that I let it slip away so easily.
This morning I read a blog post about a daily gratitude practice. Again, I felt the tug to do this–to make gratitude a part of my daily life. One of the things I value most about writing is that it pushes me to take the time to notice and reflect upon what is happening in my life. It seems to me that practicing gratitude offers similar rewards along with a push to “accentuate the positive.” There is power in deliberately shaping how one sees the world, and I can certainly use a daily reminder to notice how much I have to be grateful for and to shift my focus to a more positive vein.
In a few days, on New Year’s Eve, I’ll open that dusty jar, take out those slips and arrange them into a small stack. Then I’ll read through them one by one. Other than one or two entries, I can’t remember much of what I wrote and I’m looking forward to revisiting those past thoughts. Perhaps there will be a pattern to my written gratitude. Perhaps I’ll find memories stirred. It won’t take me long to read these, but I’m savoring the idea of spending the last night of 2016 focusing on positive thoughts about the year. After reading through them all, I’ll take a bit more time and pre-cut a much larger stack of paper for 2017.
And in the spirit of accentuating the positive, I couldn’t resist adding this link:
P.S. Thanks to Dan Rothermel and his inspiring blog post about his gratitude list!