This time last year I made the decision to be mindful of the things in my life deserving of gratitude. In order to keep me on track, and following the example of Ingrid Mason, I decided to make it public by posting every day to my Facebook page.
I must admit that I felt a little self conscious. I wondered if people might think me a bit cheesy or PollyAnna-ish. I wondered if it might just be boring to other people and perhaps I should have just been more private about it. Throughout this 365 days of gratitude I have been meet with encouragement, kindness and nothing but positivity.
This process has allowed me to hone my sense of thankfulness and more importantly, to find the good in days when sometimes there seemed there wouldn’t be any. Because the page I posted to is my work FB page I did chose to be careful of my privacy and that of my family and friends. There were days when I was publicly thankful for one thing while knowing in my heart what that day actually meant to me – some days I wanted to be thankful for the best kiss ever, or for the fact that someone dear to me had managed to step out of their overwhelming grief for a few minutes. I have been thankful for fantastic breakthroughs with clients and for crazy things like not getting caught out when I realised that I had accidently gone to the shops with no undies.
For all the things said and unsaid at the end of this process I am still enormously grateful.
When I look back over the year there are obvious patterns to my thankfulness –
My extraordinarily brave, kind and laugh out loud funny children.
My best friend and husband whose loyalty and kindness leaves me gobsmacked every day.
My vegetable garden, my fluffy bottomed chickens and the peace and groundedness they give me.
Meaningful work and the chance to make a positive change in someone’s life.
Noticing the small things and how they impact on your life in a big way.
The value of real friendships and connectedness.
The good things – health, wellness, change, other people’s joys, opportunities, belly laughs, Toby the Wonderbike.
For the hard things – illness, sadness, grief, loss. It may seem strange to be thankful for these but that’s where the opportunity to make a difference came and I am very grateful for that.
So at the end of it what have I learned ? There is nothing like a sense of belonging. The things that truly make me happy have nothing to do with stuff. Most things that lifted my heart and left me breathless with gratitude were things that took me out of myself and found me focused on someone else. That the small stuff is actually the big stuff – at the end of an awful day where you feel like there can be no reason to be grateful a smile, a cup of tea, a kiss or patting a chicken can be the thing that saves you.
Would I do it again ? Oh yes. Would I recommend it to someone else ? Oh yes again. Has it changed me ? I think so. I feel more able to find the gold quickly these days. My attention has been on finding things to be grateful for and when you do that the other stuff seems to take more of a back seat. It all comes down to where you put your focus.
I’m going to continue this daily practice but in a more private way now. I hope that some of you may chose to give this a try – you won’t be disappointed. So finally, THANK YOU, for being part of this process and for your encouragement along the way.