I’ve been keeping a gratitude journal for 5 months now — writing down 10 things a day that I’m grateful for. This was one of my alternatives to “poop” (negativity), inspired by my dog’s poop sniffing habits. Deliberate gratitude has made a tremendous difference in my life and I highly recommend it. If I need a quick mood boost, I will sit down and write as many as 5o things I’m grateful for, as fast as I can. It certainly does shift my frame of mind.
But lately I’ve been thinking this is not sufficient gratitude. It was a great start for me, but it’s missing something. It’s very internal — it’s all about me and what I’m getting out of life. I think it’s time to expand externally.
It’s not that I’m impolite. I was taught manners as a child, so I try to remember to always say Thank You. I make an effort to tell and show people that I appreciate them. I work to reciprocate the generosity of others — careful to do my part and more as a good human being. I’ll even surprise people with spontaneous generosity on occasion!
But as I’m beginning to realize just how much I have to be grateful for, I’m starting to see how much I take for granted, and how little I give back for all this amazing fortune that surrounds me. It no longer seems sufficient to say Thank You to those who are kind, and to give to those who are special to me. General politeness and good citizenry just doesn’t seem to show enough gratitude. I’m feeling inspired to bubble forth some good will!
So in November, I have decided to start a new gratitude practice of Projectile Gratitude. Every day, I’m going to find one way to go above and beyond common manners, to project my gratitude out into the world. Clean up someone else’s litter because I’m so grateful to have this magnificent planet to live on. Let a frazzled driver pull ahead of me because I’m so grateful that I’m not running late. Leave a dollar somewhere for someone else to find because I realize just how wealthy I am compared to most humans who have ever lived.
Can you imagine if we all started launching gratefulness rather than weapons? In addition to being grateful, creating new reasons for others to be grateful for? And if they aren’t, it’s okay, it took me awhile to figure it out too. I feel like I have quite a bit of catching up to do before I’m able to “pay it forward!” 😉
Watch out, I may be aiming at YOU! 😉