A new year has begun!  People around the world are praying, hoping, dreaming of a better year … politically, economically … in employment, health, finances, relationally – and an end to the pandemic or at least, a very large reduction in COVID19/COVID-related diagnoses.

~ What will we encounter in this new year? 
~ What will we allow?
~ Will we allow possibilities for self-growth?  service to others?  self-awareness?  gratitude?
~ Will we let those days come-and-go without much thoughtful reflection as we simply “get through” the week?
~ Will the days of our weeks in the new year include physical activity? recreation? laughter? reflection? hope? exercise? creativity? sleep? work? love? simply be-ing? 
~ Or, will we let them be filled with boredom? busyness? restlessness? regret?  an unwillingness to take a risk? guilt? an inability to let-go of stresses?

If each day of each week in the New Year is welcomed, appreciated, and honoured as a “Not-Yet-Opened-Gift”, who knows what blessings could come our way.

Perhaps we might experience
… Magical and Meaningful MONDAYS
… Tranquil and Truthful TUESDAYS
… Wonder-filled and Wacky WEDNESDAYS
… Thankful and Thoughtful THURSDAYS
… Fabulous and Fruitful FRIDAYS
… Sagacious and Spiritual SATURDAYS
… Salubrious and Serene SUNDAYS or more!

Perhaps you made a Gratitude Jar last year.  If so, it’s time to open and read your notes.   

If not, what better time than to begin now.   Here’s how it works:
~ Find a jar or glass vase 
~ Each night, before going to bed, write “something” – a short note (see below for the “something”) about whatever it is that you’re thankful for that day, on one side of a slip of paper – literally a ‘slip of paper’ as you’re going to have 365 pieces of paper in your jar before the year is out <g>.
~ Indicate the date on the other side of the paper.
~ Put the note into the jar and don’t look at it until December 31st of next year.

And then, on New Year’s Eve, in a quiet moment, sit, open the jar, and read about your year that has just passed.

The ‘something’ can be a biggie or insignificant.
… an emotion, an experience, a relationship, a gift (received/given), an insight
… something someone did for you or something you did for another, and in the doing, you were grateful to be part of it
… a memory, a conversation, a quotation, an image, a book you’ve read, a song you’ve heard, a visit with a friend, a piece of music that stirred you.
… a blog, a photo, a political decision, something that happened at work
… a word spoken that touched your heart/spirit/mind, a colour with special significance
… an ability that you’ve taken for granted most days, an experience, a walk you took, a moment in Nature.   

It can be … anything!

No matter what kind of year you think you may have had, when the Gratitude Jar is opened, the slips of paper will reveal a plethora of reminders of a year where every day, there was at least one thing which tugged at your heart/mind/spirit and you wrote a “thank you” of gratitude.

Sometimes, we forget the blessing, the joys, the love around us, the moments that touch us because we focus on the yuck-of-life.

Sometimes, we ignore the wonders of the world around us, the things we take for granted, and focus our attention on the hurts and concerns.

Sometimes, we forget the things that put a smile on our face because we are upset, angry, frustrated, grieving, in pain.   

Sometimes, we are in too much of a hurry to slow down and simply say ‘thank you.’   Meister Eckhart was born around 1260 and died around 1328.  Theologian, philosopher and mystic, he wrote that “if the only prayer you utter is ‘thank you’, that would suffice.”  

Gratitude – an attitude of thankfulness – can bring blessings to our lives in ways we can’t even begin to ask or imagine.

When a New Year begins, there is an opportunity to open the door to new possibilities. 

One “possibility-door” is to experience each day from a posture of gratitude – an attitude of thankfulness.  While there isn’t any scientific proof that simply recalling one thing you’re grateful for every day for a year won’t “rewire” our brain to be happy, who knows … it might really be true!

One way to begin to rewire our brain might be to get out a pen and paper, create a Gratitude Jar (or a Gratitude Journal) and get started. 

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for 2022!

© June Maffin

The Gratitude Jar and beginning a New Year!