My one little word for 2016 is: gratitude. My theme is I am grateful.
I’ve threaded gratitude unconsciously throughout the mantle of my adult life. Truly it was serendipity that helped me embrace the philosophy ‘happiness is a choice’ in my twenties. I’ve learned that one of the quickest ways out of negative thinking is to feel grateful and to express that feeling in random acts of kindness (to myself as well as others!). For me being grateful comes naturally practicing gratitude takes some mindfulness.
I’ve encouraged my OTV partners to read The Gratitude Diaries by Janice Kaplan and share our takes here. Janice’s personal stories are interspersed with fascinating research and interviews with experts in the field of gratitude. I wasn’t aware there even was a field!
I’ve practiced my evening ‘gratefuls’ as I call them for many years; writing five things I am grateful for that day and saying an end of day blessing and passing one stone from a glass jar to another. One suggestion from Gratitude Diaries, “As you go through your the day, take photos of the things that you might write about in your journal that night. Doing something has a stronger affect than just thinking about it.” What a marvelous way to expand my experience!
Anecdotes in The Gratitude Diaries like a past interview with actor Daniel Craig and his engraved bracelet with a quote from seventeenth-century philosopher Spinoza, “The more joy we have, the more nearly perfect we are.” This simple story serves as a reminder to me that we are all on this journey of being human together.
Philosopher, poet, and critic Henri-Frederic Amiel wrote:
Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts.
My morning practice is actually a blessing ritual: I open my blessing box and light a tiny candle and thank source/universe/god (all of the above) for this day and the blessings it will bring. I blow it out with gratitude and speak my mantra: I choose to be loving rather than right. I ask for health or healing for the names of loved ones inside the round tree box. Then I choose my daily self care affirmation card from Cheryl Richardson.
I am incredibly grateful for such a blessed and gorgeous life; and its the little things that I am grateful for that resonate so deeply and make it into my evening journal—watching the tiny birds hop in the grass in the front yard; Gracie’s trilling happy purr; Jeff’s enthusiasm for a boat video he wants to show me; writers; technology that makes my work possible.
Janice challenges her friend to start small; write down one thing you are grateful for today. Just one. Let me know how it goes. ♥