Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude. ― Winnie-the-Pooh
The day after Thanksgiving should be an easy day to be grateful, right? We have full bellies, leftovers, and…if we are lucky…a slice of pie for breakfast!
So where does one go from here…the last day of Kym’s Gratitude Week.
In years past, I have jotted down a Gratitude List of five or so things each day in a “Gratitude Journal.” But after awhile, this felt trite to me… so much of the sameness written down, but did that really help me focus on being grateful? So I stopped writing in my gratitude journal and noted that stopping made no difference in how I felt or my attitude.
And so I began to change how I thought about having a grateful heart. Instead of writing things down, I kept my eyes and ears open for things that might cross my path that sparked gratitude. Those things came easier it seemed.
- A particularly cheerful bird song.
- The palest hint of a sunrise or a sunset.
- Hearing the school age children full of excitement to tell their mom about their day.
- The hushed silence that a late autumn morning brings.
- Reading a poem that moves me in a new or profound way.
Great things to be grateful for, but still… it seemed lacking to me. But one thing that Carolyn blogged recently has been rattling around my brain.
“Before bed, I jotted 3 things I was grateful for and 3 things I did for someone else that day.”
I have not stopped thinking about this: “3 things I did for someone else that day.”
Hard truths are never easy to share… but I don’t often do things for someone else.
Now, I am not including Steve, my kids, or my grandkids here… those are the people it is easy to do things for. The people you are happy to help with a cheerful, loving heart. Nor am I counting the places I make donations to… is making a donation a good thing? Absolutely! But it is something that is, for me, easy to do!
But what am I physically doing for the someone else’s that I have no connection with? The answer is a whole lot of not very much.
So where I hope to take Gratitude Week is to look for the someone else’s. I am going to go beyond simply keeping my eyes and ears open. I want to try and go deeper, to stretch my gratitude boundaries – to find the parts that “carry the most weight” (to quote Carolyn again) in the things I do for others.
And there you have it… my take on how to close out Gratitude Week.
I hope that your Friday is full of all the things you love! See you all back here on Monday with my Word update!
I have been including five moments of joy in my (almost) daily journaling, and usually those are five things I am grateful for. Like you, since I started this practice, I find I am noticing more little things — birdsong, the way the light hits the changing leaves, small acts of kindness by others. And since the pandemic started, I’ve really been making an effort to spread kindness to others because I think we can all use it. It costs nothing to thank someone at a store or smile at someone you pass on the street.
A great idea Kat and I like Sarah’s comment too. It does not have to be anything big…just showing kindness when you are out in the world is a wonderful thing.
I bet you do things without noticing. Taking a shopping trolley back from car park to shop for someone, opening a door, helping a person with a baby buggy, complimenting someone for something, saying hello to a stranger, chatting to someone in a queue, letting someone go in front of you at a checkout, fetching something off the top/ bottom shelf etc etc. The more you do the less you notice, but you may just have given someone a huge lift to their day.
I had been recording 3 things I’m grateful for on a daily basis for while and it dropped off. Your comments about doing something for someone else is very thought-provoking…I used to have many opportunities to do that when I worked in an office…now that I work out of my home, not so much! I need to look for those chances now…thank you!
I like the idea of three things I’ve done for someone else. It fits in with my word this year, kindness. I haven’t posted much about it because somehow it feels like bragging about what I’ve done. I am making a kindness journal – creating an entry once a month – about kindnesses offered and those received. It’s been an interesting exercise.
Thinking back…and i can’t look in my journal b/c I’m out of town right now…i will tell you some if those things were small. But tender! Holding a door for someone. Complimenting a person, esp during a stressful moment–like in a long line at the post office on tax day. Willing to be late for a committee meeting because a mom at church was struggling with a teen son and needed to talk. In writing those things down, I noticed moments i wouldn’t have otherwise. Even something as “small” as catching someone’s eye with a smile. (Not so small, really.) I wouldn’t be surprised if you actually do plenty of that–just without noticing. In fact, I’ve been on the receiving of your kindness and generosity here in blogland!!
I think that sounds like a GREAT way to think about gratitude, Kat. I also . . . tire of the standard “gratitude listing.” (I think the exercise has a lot of value as a JOY list, things that I notice that I might otherwise take for granted — but not really . . . gratitude. Y’know?) Anyway, I like your challenge . . . to think about what you did FOR OTHERS! That is a game-changer. . .
Your three things list is earth-changing! I may have a difficult time with the doing for another part since I rarely leave the house. But the effort to think of those things is worth the effort.