I never used to think about gratitude, but now, Beyond 60, I find it comes more and more to the front of my mind.
Big gratitudes, for simply being alive, and well, and warm. For living in a country that isn’t threatened by war or famine.
And smaller, more personal gratitudes, for the little pleasures that enrich every day life.
It’s good to notice these. Right now, the flame-orange of parrot tulips in the garden, the unfurling of fresh green leaves, the black furry aura of my cat’s sweetly curved haunch as she nestles down beside me.
I’m grateful for these, and when I notice myself noticing them, it enhances the feeling.
Keep a Visible Gratitude Record
Maybe you’ve tried keeping a gratitude journal? It’s something that happiness gurus often suggest. And it’s not without worth. I have a little notebook tucked away with sporadic entries.
But keeping it in a drawer means I forget about it for months at a time. So I decided to make something that I can see, to remind me of how much there is to be grateful for, and how powerful it is to mark that gratitude.
Above, you can see my Joy Jar. How corny, eh?
But I don’t care. I love my Gratitude Boot, and it stands on the shelf I see when I open my eyes every morning.
It’s made in a beer glass which I stole from my daughter’s room – apparently her mates pinched it from a bar in Portugal. You could make one in any container that takes your fancy.
I love cutting up images and using them, in the way that some people love to draw or paint. Snipping and shaping and sorting and choosing puts me in the zone, and that’s a good place to be.
I hoard cards I’ve been sent, fragments of coloured paper, and other bits and pieces. When a gratitude moment comes upon me I cut bits out and write my gratitude message on the back, and drop them into the jar.
Every so often, I give it a shake to rearrange it. When I see it, I remember just how many things there are to be grateful for.
Looking for Light in a World that’s often Dark
Maybe it’s cheesy, or trite. Or maybe that’s my self-judgement gremlin at work. All I know is, when life takes a bleak turn, if I’ve had sad or bad news, or an overdose of harrowing stories via internet or TV bulletins and am left anxious, helpless or even despairing of the darkness of the world, I can turn to my little collection of joyful moments and find a spark of hope.
Just dipping in, and pulling out a few is enough. Now and then I even tip the whole lot out and read them. Where is gratitude to be found?
The memories fill me with warmth and pleasure all over again. I can travel back through time just by reading them: ‘ping pong with Clara’…’gorgeous spring sunshine’…’a day with Louise’…’looking forward to meeting J for dinner tonight’…’Sangha’…’Blogging Excitement!’…’photos sent by G’…’talking at the table with N until late’…’builder fixed the broken door’…’at least I didn’t break my right hand’…’Laughing with BB cos she overheard someone describe her as a lively-minded old bird’…’snow’…’beach walk’…’a warm cheese scone eaten outdoors’.
Tiny pleasures, and significant. They signal the joys of connecting with others, of love, of nature, of engagement with life. Good things to remember.
These are the fabric of which life is made. It’s good to see how many gratitude moments arise in any day, and it’s fun and rewarding to keep them in my jar of joy.
How do you remember moments that you’re grateful for? Please share your thoughts below.