Its been about three weeks since I started this little gratitude challenge and I wanted to check-in with myself and see if it has changed anything. The honest answer is yes and no.
Sitting down and writing in my "gratitude" journal has been a good practice overall. Sometimes, my list comes much easier than others. Sometimes at the end of it I feel so happy and prosperous, other times I feel like I just phoned it in and checked the box. I had hoped this would make me feel like it is all unicorns and rainbows by the end of the month - maybe I'll still get there.
Even though this practice has not done for me what I thought it would already, the cumulative affect is good. I find myself throughout the day noticing things or thinking "I am so glad that..." or "I am so thankful that…" I realize in those moments that two things have happened, I am in a state of present moment awareness and I am appreciating it.
Perhaps, instead of rainbows and unicorns that is really the place we are trying to get to. Being more present in life and appreciating what is already there for us. Of course, that is easy to do when you’re looking at a beautiful sunset or eating a delicious meal. "Level Two Gratitude" must be living more in the present moment and appreciating it, even if the sky is cloudy and the food sucks. That sounds hard and I am no where close to that.
Doing this gratitude practice has made me more aware of the language I use. It has made me realize when I am negative about things. There is still room for improvement but they say the first step to change is simply noticing. So, hopefully, I am on my way to being a more positive person.
I have noticed a few of you on Faceboook doing this challenge. How has it been for you? I've loved seeing what you are thankful for. Has it changed or shifted anything for you? Please leave a comment and let me know.
This week we have company visiting us for Thanksgiving. I am so excited to have our friends and have been thinking of gratitude related activities. Here are two, you may want to try them as well.
• Gratitude grab:
Warn your guests or family members beforehand if possible so they can have time to think. Ask them to come up with five things they’re grateful for. Provide strips of paper for people to write their gratitudes on. Put them in a bowl in the middle of the table. Take turns letting everyone draw and read a paper from the bowl. (This will work better with a smaller group.) Keep reading until each person's list has been read and everyone's had a chance to read. When you’re finished raise a toast to your shared abundance.
• Conversation starter:
Can you think of a person, place or thing that you weren’t so happy about at first but later it turned into something you are really grateful for? It is good to recognize that sometimes our biggest blessings don't look that way at first.
I continue to paint daily and work on different things. At the beginning of November, I put small Day of the Dead prints on Instagram and Facebook and told people to message me if they wanted one. I got a little over 25 requests. Many were from people I didn’t know. It was a lot of fun to make them and write on the back of each one. As people received their prints many of them emailed me a photo of where they hung it. The folks who received them seemed so happy about it that I felt blessed too. The whole thing inspired me to try and print my own Christmas cards. It could be a fun project for the whole family... I’ll see if I can get them made in time - if not you may be getting it next Christmas.
Sending you lots of love,
Day of the Dead print
Layest chicken painting, modeled after Ingre’s portrait of Mademoiselle Jeanne Gonin.
Mademoiselle Jeanne Gonin, by Jean August’s Dominique Ingres