My Gratitude Jar

     In my bedroom at home, I have a designated Gratitude Jar.
    Until the end of 2013 I used an old mason jar with a crack in it, diverted from the recycle box. Last December I was given as a gift a lovely over-size coffee mug with pictures of the Buddha and lotus blossoms. It is painted in gentle soft blues and mauves.
     Beside my mug I keep a pen and a stack of small papers. When paper has been discarded with a blank side I cut the pages into eight ‘tickets’.
     Every night as I am closing out my day, I write on one or two or three of these tickets something for which I am grateful. Sometimes I include the words ‘I am thankful for’ but not always.
     Late in July my jar was overflowing, and on the 25th I emptied it, conscious that the vibrations of the day might bring some Spiritual lessons to me.
     I tipped it onto the table, and about a 150 papers slid out, almost one for each day of the year so far, and given that I have spent several months away from my own bedroom, 150 felt like a healthy – and grateful -- total.

     Most of the papers were neatly folded because I try to slip the new ones between the old, or down the side of the mug itself. There were a couple from the bottom that had been a little crumpled.
     As I opened the folded paper slips I reconnected with some of the moments that had stimulated gratitude, I also felt some bewilderment about things I had written down and now presented themselves without context.
     There were several slips with nothing but the name of someone in my life. On assorted days I have been grateful for Tamlyn and Wendy and Ananda and Scott and others. While it is true, of course, that I am grateful for the people in my life, in most cases I have no idea what singular event or day or conversation motivated me to record particular names, and I am left to sift through my memory all the many possibilities: what an unexpected gift!
     There were a few other slips of paper which contained enough information to remind me of the specifics: I am grateful for Bernadette’s willingness to visit with me; for the arrival of a Ganesha figure in my life; for the ongoing learning that assorted books and courses provide. I am grateful to Deepak Chopra and Osho and the other teachers from whom I learn so much.
     I have expressed gratitude for emotions and the lessons they contain. At times I have declared that I am thankful for confusion; love; sorrow; and acceptance. I have said it is good to learn from unpredictability. I have written that feeling loved back by grandchildren is worthy of note; that trusting and feeling trusted are important. As the months have gone by and I have continued to absorb the teachings of the Agape download I experienced last August, I have been grateful for the many loves that have refracted through me.
     I have written down the word ‘laughter’ several times, and also details that let me recollect the laughter that resulted from ‘blushing’ and ‘allies’ and ‘poetry’.
     The town name ‘Aspatria’ reminds me that I have met someone who knows a place where I was as a girl. The words ‘anticipation’ and ‘listening’ and ‘healing’ each carry stories that are instantly present when I read them again.
     I find myself profoundly thankful that I keep this gratitude jar. No matter how busy I am, or how distracted I become, this simple exercise keeps me linked to the many gifts that sit within everyday life, and what a blessing and a joy to be in the position of reading them all because the cup is overflowing.

     Jo Leath has been supporting clients through change and growth since the 1980s.
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