I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions. Somehow the concept seems too loaded. But last January I embarked on a year long endeavor to help me to keep my focus in the present by taking time each day to recognize any and every thing for which I am grateful.
I thought about collecting my gratitude in a jar, but soon concluded that the best way to feed my visually oriented mind was to assemble them in a chain that I could watch grow.
It started with one strip of construction paper.
On which I wrote my first gratitude. For? Beginning the chain!
There was only one rule – to fill out out at least one strip per day. But, a funny thing about gratitude, it’s infectious, so it wasn’t long before a stream of thankful thoughts sprung forth each day.
And by mid-February, the chain had filled one wall and half of another in my bedroom.
Waking up every morning to this rainbow of appreciation activated my desire to acknowledge every nuance of my thankfulness, from hearing my cat purr, to the inventor of the toothbrush, to the growers of the food I eat, to the great enjoyment I feel in simply looking at my husband’s face. How many times can one express gratitude for a delicious apple as it’s juices trickle down one’s throat? Why every time. It is no less a wonder or gift because I ate one yesterday.
And so my magnificent obsession with being thankful continued to grow, snaking out of one bedroom and through another.
Finally ending in our dining room as the days of December ticked by. And, as the chain shared space with Christmas decorations, it dawned on me that it had brought a festive atmosphere to our home throughout the year. And more than that, it had swaddled our living space in a bear hug of gratefulness.
As with all practices, I learned that everyday has its own unique attributes that can challenge one’s fortitude, but even on those blue days when I wanted to stay in bed and pout, having those construction paper strips stacked on my desk gave me the kick in the pants to get present and latch onto just one lousy gratitude, if that was all I was capable of.
This year-long journey ended on December 31st. And then it was time to take it all down and perform a burning ceremony to say farewell.
The walls seemed to lose energy as the strands of faded colors fell to the ground. I gathered the construction paper loops into a mini mountain that nearly reached my waist.
As I held the past year of my life in my hands, I could feel my blessings re-pollinating my soul.
There was only one last thing to do before I sent my blessings back up into the universe.
Take a swim!
So what’s in store for 2015? Why another experiment of marrying soul and art.
But more on that another time.
I’d love to hear what practices you use to keep yourself present.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!