Earlier this month we celebrated my son’s 21st birthday and it made me stop and realize how quickly time passes. Milestones such as his recent birthday, always seem to be a time for reflection and remembering. Remembering our little baby so cute and innocent. Remembering how grateful I was to be his mother and the wonder of bringing another life into this world. Reflecting upon the way we brought him up. The things we did or didn’t do. What was helpful and what things may not have been the best. Looking back and reflecting on these things provides me the opportunity to see what lessons we could learn from all we have done. Did we learn from these lessons? What did we learn and how did we apply that new knowledge.
My Grandmother always told me that we learn something every day. The day we don’t learn something is the day we are no longer on this earth. We sometimes just need to be aware of what it was. She didn’t limit the term learning to the things we learn from school, reading, tv and from others. She also included the lessons we can learn from the things with which we have struggled or have not gone as we had intended.
What I would like to share with you is a hybrid version of a gratitude tool that I hear recently. I call it hybrid because not only do I propose being mindful of the things for which we are grateful in our lives but I also incorporate my Grandmother’s wisdom regarding learning. This hybrid I feel is an all encompassing approach for placing our attention on the positive aspects of the day. Yes, even those difficult or stressful situations have positive aspects. If we see them from the angle of the lessons the challenges hold, we are better able to let go of the emotions that we attach to them which helps to us be more balanced and grounded.
- Get a large clear or opaque vase or container that you would like to use to store your notes.
- Place this container an area of your home where you will see it regularly throughout the day.
- Get some small pieces of paper any shape. Different coloured sheets are really good if you can find them. You will be putting the complete papers in the container and the different colours seem to grab your attention when you walk past the container.
- Place the spare papers and a pen near or inside the vase where they will be readily available for you to use.
Each day Try to write down:
- You can write just one word or details.
- Write out as many things as you want.
- You can use a different sheet for each item or write them all on the same sheet. Do as you feel guided.
- New things that you learned.
- Any lessons or insights that you may have learned from the challenges you encountered that day. Don’t worry if you can’t figure out a lesson but write down the situation or challenge. You will look over these notes at a later time and you will likely discover what the lesson was. Time has a way of helping us see things in a different light.
- Write down the things for which you are grateful.
- Write the date down. When you go back to read your notes you may find it interesting to know what the date was. Sometimes you will see patterns forming during a period of time.
Many people keep a gratitude journal that they fill in each morning or night and have reaped great benefits from that practice. This container method is very powerful because it provides a visual reminder that we need to think positively with gratitude and be willing to learn. Completing the notes once a day has great value however you may find it even more valuable to jot down the notes throughout the day. Doing so can help you feel more balanced and grounded. This can further aid in helping you attain and maintain a state of gratitude as well as helping you stay open to recognizing the lessons of the day.
If you work outside of the home you can also set up a container at work. No one needs to know what it is. If you keep your purse or wallet in a drawer you can put the container there where you will see it each time you reach for your purse or wallet. Use your creativity and you will be able to find a way that works for you.
Review the notes when you feel guided to do so. It may be when the container gets full. It may be on a regular basis, such as once a week or even once a year. You may find it helpful to look through them when you are experiencing a rather difficult day or period in your life. I am sure that you will smile, laugh, reflect and remember. I am also sure that you will be grateful for having taken those few minutes each day to make these special notes.