During this season of gratitude, I wanted to find a unique way to continue the spirit of thanks into every day after. Meet Christine Wall, a yoga instructor and blogger from Durham, North Carolina who did just that! After a difficult year in 2013, she chose to reset and restart her practice of gratitude with a simple mason jar. Read her story and begin your own journey!
Life is truly a practice of gratitude. Its easy to be grateful in those times when things are going the way you planned. You are happy and life is good. We have all been there. And then life gives us those “other” moments. Those hard times are presented to us to get back to that place of gratitude, so that we can appreciate the “muck” that we are experiencing. Just like the lotus flower grows from the muck in a pond, we grow from the muck in our life. The challenge truly becomes trying to find the positive light in those moments because there is always something that you can be grateful for. You can always find something positive in your life. You just need to be open to see and receive it.
On January 1, 2014, after having a challenging 2013, I started the simple act of a gratitude jar. It was a simple, but powerful, way for me to get back to that place of gratitude. It pushed me to recognize all the amazing things that were already present in my life (which I often times overlooked when things were not going as planned). This mason jar housed big and small things that I was grateful for each day. Pretty soon my jar started to overflow. I was not only appreciating the big things, but also the small things several times throughout the day and recording all of them—a sunset, a conversation, a flower, a cuddle from Calla (my 6.5 pound loveable Rat Terrier dog, who has been my buddy for over 10 years,) spending time with friends, teaching yoga, feeling loved, a delicious meal, and the process of healing from an injury. I started recording my “gratitude” in a journal because by April my jar could not hold any more slips of paper.
In the physical sense it could not hold anymore, but my own cup was overflowing with joy, and I was ready to experience even more from life. So began for me a 365 days of gratitude challenge. This was not a challenge of working out more, eating healthier or doing a certain pose every day (challenges which I had done before), but simply being grateful for 365 days.
As we approach the time of year, which is dedicated to being grateful, let’s open up the possibility of extending this into 365 days of the year. Yes, Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to surround ourselves with those we love and to give thanks for what we have. What if it could be the start of another 365 day journey and this time, a journey of gratitude? Here are some simple steps to creating your own gratitude experience via a jar or journal.
- First, decide which seems to fit better for you. An open jar which you can fill with grateful thoughts on a piece of paper or a journal which you can fill the pages with your gratitude.
- Then, begin your journey. Don’t wait for a specific day. Begin NOW. Give thanks for the small things and the big things. It could be simply the smell and taste of your morning coffee one day or another day the opportunity to have lunch with a friend. Before you know it your days are becoming fuller and fuller with the joys of life. Also, remember that during our rainy and gray days of life there is always something to be grateful for.
- Record everything! Don’t hold back on your gratitude. Some days there may be more things to be grateful for. Be ok with filling up your journal and/or jar. “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of our life. It turns what we have into enough, and more.” (unknown source).
- And so your gratitude journey begins and will continue. Most importantly, enjoy the process and journey!