I have kept a Grateful Jar.
A daily practice of identifying and writing out at least three of the day’s experiences I am grateful for, folding the note up, and offering it to the Jar.
Then, on Winter Solstice, the darkest day of the year, I empty the Jar, and begin the annual process of unfolding each note. Basking in appreciation and wonder.
The first year, I did it as a bit of a lark– curious what might happen. Not having a clue the deliciously surprising shift that awaited me.
The process was so profound, and so life changing, that it has continued a daily ritual, for the last six years.
This year, I knew I wouldn’t have the opportunity or capacity to dive in on Winter Solstice. My oldest daughter and her partner were staying for Solstice on an air mattress in my living room and I was officiating a wedding that night. You can read about that experience here.
The Jar was going to have to practice patience. Or rather, I, I was going to have to practice patience.
It took me days to read all of the notes, so they were moved to a basket while the Grateful Jar began a new cycle.
There were a number of days where I thought, “maybe this will be the day“, yet for whatever mysterious reason, it never came to be and five days later, I understood why.
December 26th I awoke with the electricity being out for more than twelve hours already.
Suddenly, the delay made sense, and I squirreled up in the smallest room of the house, beneath every blanket I own, cuddled up with a dog, both of us trying to stay warm.
An interesting thing happens when your only heat source isn’t working,
the thermostat reads 41° and you really need to get to a grocery store but are snowbound.
Your mind begins to kick into survival mode, which made reconnecting with my gratefulls so much more richer. Add to that, the house was absolutely still, not even the refrigerator was humming. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, this was my most profound reunion with the Grateful Jar yet!
I’m Frequently Asked
Why I use a Jar as opposed to a journal, and honestly, it took me a couple of years to be answer that. In fact, I only figured it out this autumn. Throughout history, people have stored their nourishment in vessels. Survival depended on it; jars provided security for lean times.
The symbolism of this landed more deeply with me this past December, than ever before.
The Year Revisited
Every year, the Grateful Jar reminds me of significant lessons, reflects energetic themes and has become an unintended historian. Here’s some of the wisdom the Grateful Jar revealed to me. Many coaching programs, whether business or personal, encourage a year review because they are a potent experience. A year’s worth of “gratefull” notes are a deeply intimate recollection and each year, they provide me a birds-eye view of the journey I navigated.
Some of My Lessons Learned
The people in your life at the beginning of the year, may not be in your life at the end of the year.
While this may seem obvious, it was a potent theme for me in 2021. Some friendships ebbed, other relationships made monumental shifts and some loved ones passed away. It has been a year of epic transition for me.
The Grateful Jar mirrored back to me all of it.
You may not yet have met the people that will impact you deeply throughout this new year.
Sit with that for a minute, and with an open-heart, embrace that idea.
There are amazing people you haven’t even met yet, and they are going to inspire you and touch your life in ways that you can’t even imagine!
I also reconnected with some amazing wellness practices that were highly beneficial, and for whatever reason fell away. Rediscovering these is an invitation to weave them back into my daily experience.
I found myself in an epic meal rut throughout 2021, and somehow or another, whatever new meals or recipes that were a success, were forgotten.
The Grateful Jar mirrored back to me that Chicken Vindaloo and panfried tofu were surprising and phenomenal successes.
Ohhh, That’s What It’s Called!
Admittedly, I’m not the best at remembering all the different names of crystals and fossils. The Grateful Jar surprised and delighted me by providing nearly half a dozen specimen names to me that I had forgotten. Names that are now written down on tiny labels that stand beneath the pieces.
It seems to be human nature to brush-off compliments.
Every compliment that I received this year, was shared in my “gratefulls”. While I can’t explain it, re-visiting the compliment and who bestowed it upon me, had me deeply absorbing the statement when I emptied all of the notes. I joked with The Grateful Jar Collective participants last week, that perhaps I’ll have to begin saying, “Thank you for your kind words. I’m going to write it down in my “gratefulls” and I promise to receive and absorb that compliment before the end of the year”.
A New Cycle Begins
While I didn’t begin unfolding the notes on December 21, the Grateful Jar was emptied and a new cycle began that day.
Already I am looking forward to reading about the Winter Solstice handfasting my oldest photographed as I officiated. It’s sure to be a beautiful memory to revisit.
And if the Grateful Jar has taught me
anything, it’s that there are delicious, delightful surprises awaiting me in the journey ahead!
How will your world respond, if you commit to writing out three experiences that you are grateful for daily?
The date you start doesn’t matter.
Lean in and explore what there is to be grateful from your day.
It just might have a bigger impact than you could imagine.