I originally wrote this piece after 2012’s end-of-October Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy. Followed soon after by Thanksgiving (and then the december holiday season), I began noticing waves of gratitude flowing from all corners of my real and virtual communities, and it got me thinking …
Oprah used to talk about keeping a “gratitude journal” … saying “it was the single most important thing … I’ve ever done.” And if you’ve been following my stuff at all, y’know I believe that writing, and telling stories has huge power for rediscovering and rewriting your life … so you might think I’d really get into something like that, but I never could. I made attempts, but it never quite landed for me; something always felt “off” … it felt forced.
If I was having a tough day, I’d have to ignore the things that were pulling my focus (push them down under the surface) to look for X number of things to be grateful for among my swirling crank-fest.
But, I believe that sometimes, one has to be with the challenges and the crank-fest-ness of life in order to move beyond them.
And while it might be good/helpful to put some attention on being grateful for fresh flowers and the wonderful crunch of a honeycrisp apple in the midst of said crank-fest, writing only the stuff that I was grateful for – without acknowledging the challenges? – uh, no. It just didn’t work for me. So …
Instead, here’s my variation on the gratitude journal – with or without the actual journaling part.
It’s my thank you/more please practice.
Here’s how it works:
When something good happens in your day … when you experience something that makes you feel good, happy, comfortable, content, excited, jazzed or otherwise delighted … or if something happens that feels a bit like encouragement from the universe – whether it’s teeny or huge – acknowledge it right then, in that moment by saying “thank you/more please” … either out loud, or quietly to yourself. (when you can, or if you feel so moved, write it down.)
Try it when your partner gives you an awesome foot rub, or you find a dime on the street. Say it when you snag an amazing deal on plane tickets, or when the kids come to visit for a few days and don’t throw their crap all over the living room (and the kitchen, bathroom, and the dining room …).
Say it to yourself as you walk out of a meeting where you land a client you’ve been wooing for months. Say it when mom’s latest test comes back negative; when you finish a painting; when you have a reallly delicious stretch; when they have the good bread at ShopRite; when you reconnect with an old friend.
You could add a dance move from time to time. Raise a glass when appropriate. If you want to add it to an existing writing practice, write about some of the times you’ve said it, or thought it. Or maybe you just want to write about how the whole process is going, and what you’re noticing. You could also shoot a photo (the photo in this post is from my ‘thank you/more please’ photo file…). Use it as a mantra-like thing while practicing yoga.
Thank you/more please for awesome technology; thank you/more please for green lights when I’m running late; thank you/more please for the house to myself; thank you/more please for this fireplace, this moment, that sunset. Thank you/more please for good friends; a good report from the doctor; a great song; a hot cup of coffee.
If it feels good; if it makes you happy (and having more of that in your life would be awesome) – whatever it is: large, small, or super-teeny – meet it with: thank you/more please.
Then watch how the simple act of paying attention – acknowledging the unique, the happy, and the awesome – and encouraging it with thank you/more please – will beget more and more reasons to say thank you/more please.
And (please), let me know how it goes. (thank you.)
One more thing …
I’m grateful for you – for visiting my corner of the blogosphere – for reading, reaching out, asking questions, and participating.
And to each of you who wants to unleash on the page in order to unleash in your one wild and precious life – and the ones who encourage me to keep developing my work and sharing it – thank you, thank you, thank you. More please.