It should have been easy. I wrote about showing gratitude and decided to tweet something I was grateful or thankful for at least once each day until Thanksgiving. It was only 10 days. Wow! Not so easy. Because I was tweeting it, the first things that came to mind seemed so silly. “I’m thankful for my family,” “I’m grateful for the tiny little things that most of us take for granted everyday.” Duh! I wanted to think bigger, so I focused on my students instead of family. (Hey, it was a start!)
In the end, I realize I set this mini-goal to force myself to focus on and make time for that creative part of me that gets pushed aside every year at this time. What is gratitude but finding thankfulness? It’s celebrating some part of ourselves or our lives that is not frequently acknowledged. So, I began to think about the little things that truly make me happy, that make me appreciate my life—now. Not how I’d like it to be, but how it is in the present.
I’ve blogged about some of them in the past: the way I like to wake every morning with the blinds slanted so I can see the sunshine slowly brighten the white pines behind my building, and gratitude for a lifestyle that allows me a day or two a week (even during my busiest time of year) to savor my thoughts with my coffee and write in my journal before heading off to wherever I need to be that day.
Slowly, the things I posted focused on the bigger picture and the spontaneous parts of my day. Rejoicing in the luxury of allowing the creative thoughts to flow for not one project but 3! Changing plans to meet a friend for lunch instead of dinner as planned and then running into another friend who joined us. Learning about my latest book placing as finalist in its category for a book award. The energy and excitement my publisher and editors generated about this news.
Focusing on gratitude worked. By Wednesday, not only was I having a fantastic day in the kitchen, but I was enjoying all the busy-ness of work (my writing and teaching projects). And, the creative juices have been flowing ever since. So, dare yourself to savor the small details in life. Find the positive in the unexpected changes or challenges life provides. You may be surprised by the results. I’m grateful I was challenged—and pleasantly surprised.