People tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will descend like fine weather if you’re fortunate. But happiness is the result of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly.
~ Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
I am a big fan of Elizabeth Gilbert, so when I discovered this post on her Facebook page a few weeks ago, well, I couldn’t wait to join the fun. I promptly pulled one of my grandmother’s old blue canning jars from the kitchen cupboard and set it on my nightstand. That evening, as I climbed into bed, I called to mind the happiest moment from the day. I wrote about it on a slip of paper, folded it up carefully, and tossed it into the jar. I slept like a baby.
I have tried keeping gratitude journals in the past but that always seems to fall by the wayside after just a few days. Every morning I scribble three pages in a journal; after that, I try to spend an hour or two working on my fiction writing. The truth is that by the end of the day it is hard to face yet another blank page. But I am happy to say that this latest habit has stuck. Every evening, it is quite pleasant to close my eyes, mull over the day’s events, and decide which one is going into the jar. Admittedly, there has been a time or two when all I could remember was turmoil and chaos. But more often it is hard to choose just one blessed incident to add to my collection.
I have already outgrown the small jar I started with, graduating to an empty vase from a gift of fresh flowers from a faraway friend. If I had been keeping a happiness jar at that time, no doubt that surprise delivery would have gone on record as being the happiest moment of that day.
To add to the fun, several of my friends have also started the practice, and their jars are also overflowing with happiness. As we approach the holiday season. I encourage you to find a way to document all that you have to be thankful for. And if you decide to start a happiness jar of your own, I hope you will take a picture of it and send it to me!