Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Smell of Roses...

     For Christmas, a bit belatedly, I received a Kindle, and for that I am very grateful. I am an avid reader, with a large library; buying books is my strongest vice. If he didn't know better, the postman would think I was having an intimate affair with someone by the name of Amazon; so many boxes he delivers to my door are emblazoned with that name.
     Currently, I have four books actively "in progress", and several others awaiting my attention in precarious piles. For a complete look at my reading lists, past, present, and future, you can become my "friend" on Goodreads.com a really fun social networking site exclusively dedicated to reading and talking about reading.
     So, despite being in the midst of several books, I took my new Kindle in hand, and downloaded my first Kindlebook last night: 365 Thank Yous by John Kralik. Mr. Kralik really took an idea and ran with it, an idea many of us have had, but never followed through with. And I'm pondering following in his footsteps.

     In this crazy-busy world we live in, everyone is running from one thing to the next, barely pausing to (forgive the cliche') "smell the roses." Many an expert has suggested that one way to greater happiness is through practicing mindful appreciation of the world around us: people, nature, beauty, etc. But it's hard to appreciate what you are rushing past, even pushing out of your way. Experts also tell us that by contemplating and writing a list of gratitudes every evening we become better at noticing the people and things in our lives we sincerely appreciate and find meaningful, things big and things small... sort of like priming the pump (another cliche', sorry). If I have an "assignment" to come up with three specific things that I feel grateful for every evening, and I don't want it to get repetitious, then I had better start noticing what's going on around me. I'd better slow down and allow myself to be aware of my surroundings and those with whom I interact. "They" say, eventually, this practice becomes a habit--a way of life that leads to greater happiness.
     Mr. Kralik's idea goes one step further. He challenged himself to not just write a gratitude list for himself, but to write and deliver a written thank you to someone, everyday for a year, expressing that gratitude. His notes weren't long or mushy, just honest and sincere. He began, easily enough, by writing thank yous for Christmas gifts he had received. It wasn't long before he had to look deeper and watch more carefully. It was interesting how touched people were by his simple notes. People's need to be appreciated, was as great as his need to be appreciative. The connections created by his thank yous brought energy to both the giver and the receiver.
     Kralik's personal goal was for greater happiness for himself; he needed to pull himself out of the deep dark hole into which he had fallen. The end result was a "pay it forward" result. By passing on his appreciation, his gratitude, to others he succeeded in passing along his greater happiness as well.

     So, I'm going to give this a try. I am challenging myself to write a thank you note a day for all of 2011. It sounds daunting when I say it, write it, like that... 365 is a big number! So I am also allowing myself forgiveness when I mess up, because it's sure to happen. I want to begin right now.

Dear Readers,     I am deeply grateful to those of you who read my blog, especially to those of you who comment from time to time. Your readership and your comments are encouraging to me. I get excited every time I see on my "stats" that my blog has been viewed! I feel giddy when there's a comment waiting for me. When I grow up, I want to be a writer. I began this blog a year ago as a challenge to myself to "go public" with my writing in order to face my fears; fears that really kept me from actively pursuing that writing dream; fears that you have helped to dispel with your encouragement. So, I sincerely appreciate, you, my dear readers!           
     THANK YOU!      Joan