Posted in Self development
Gratitude isn’t a new idea; most spiritual practices and philosophies emphasise gratitude and compassion for others. But in recent years gratitude has shifted from being an idea to a concrete tool that people can use to become happier and healthier.
(Luna & I - Christmas 2019)
However it is practiced, gratitude isn’t a blindly optimistic approach in which the bad things in life are whitewashed or ignored. It’s more a matter of where we put our focus and attention. Yes, pain and injustice and cruelty exist in this world. Politics is increasingly divided. The difference in the well-off and the poorest appears to be growing. But when we really focus on the gifts of life, we can gain a feeling of well-being.
Throughout the year I keep a Gratitude Jar. In there I write down those moments that’s I’m so grateful for – big or small. There are some days or weeks when I might not – I just forget, it’s easy to revert to old patterns - but then something always reminds me. The jar sits on my windowsill in my office with little squares of paper so I can easily jot down my gratitude and pop it in the jar. It can be a sunny day or a conversation with a friend.
Between Christmas and New Year I sit by the fire and open my jar for the year just coming to an end. It’s so wonderful to remember the people, events or memories that I was grateful for throughout the year. It’s something that I so look forward to as I’ve generally forgotten what I put in my jar. A very nourishing activity.
In the last couple of years I’ve also had a ‘wishes’ jar (or as I am calling – my Intentions Jar). After I’ve cleared my gratitude jar, I open this jar. This one is created a year ago and rarely is anything added to the jar– although sometimes in January I may think of a couple more to add in. It’s left on my windowsill. Again its wonderful surprise to see what my ‘wishes’ or Intentions were for the coming year. Also whether they happened! In the past, a few wishes have gone back again into the jar, a wish or intention for the coming year.
I’ve realised that intentions are much more powerful than ‘wishes’. For me, wishes now seems too ‘light’ as if I don’t really believe they can come true. After seeing Lynn McTaggart (author of ‘The field’ and ‘the Power of Eight’ - catch her online) speak in the last couple of years and reading much more about the power of intention, I feel intention is much more powerful. As Lynn, an investigative journalist writes in ‘The Power of Eight’ - ‘how do you prove something that defies every law that you’ve been taught? What if your entire premise is outside the bounds of what is known or observable? What if you were trying to locate the mathematical equation for a miracle?’ The Power of Intention.
Whether you treat the jars as fun or allocate more meaning, it’s a wonderful exercise for this time of year and the forthcoming year. I encourage you to create gratitude and Wish/Intentions jars. Gratitude can be a daily practise and it can be an enriching practise especially for January which can feel a less joyous month.
May you be clear on your intentions for 2020 and grateful for what it brings to you.