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is meant to invite and inspire you to maximize the joy in
Bless the Blessings
We, as a culture, seem to be getting the hang of this gratitude thing. And not just during the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving! If you are making a more concerted effort to access gratitude, perhaps you feel similar to someone I spoke with on this topic recently. This person had made great strides at naming the myriad things to be grateful for in his life but wondered why it did not seem to do that much for him. In essence, he asked, “Why do I still feel less than joyful?” What popped out of my mouth was a surprise, even to me. I told him he had learned to count his blessings and now the work is in blessing the blessings. Ever since that conversation a couple of weeks ago, I have pondered this distinction and wondered about how one goes about blessing the blessings.
When we count our blessings we end up with either a mental or written list (or both). That list is sort of two-dimensional, if you think about what it might look like on paper. It somehow lacks energy. Well, then I started thinking about other lists. A To Do list may hold great promise but it is in the doing of things on that list where energy stirs. So perhaps action is a key to this puzzle. Even though making a gratitude list is an action, it is nowhere near as dynamic as doing something with that list. How to make the practice of gratitude more active? I got my answer via a trusty “friend” named Roget - Roget’s Thesaurus, to be more exact. I looked up the word gratitude, and saw synonyms such as thankfulness and indebtedness but I also saw the words, appreciation, recognition, and acknowledgment. How could we bless our blessings? By adding the verb, “express.” Please help me test my theory: does overt expression of appreciation, recognition or acknowledgment make your gratitude come alive? Does the joy embedded in those counted blessings become more apparent? Hope so!
“Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.”
~ G.B. Stern
Make it Overt
There are so many ways to express appreciation, recognition or acknowledgment. Try not to make too big a production of this because then it will become a chore, and chores may not elevate feelings of gratitude or appreciation! Simple gestures speak volumes. Try one-sentence: in an e-mail or text or spoken directly to someone. This does not have to be a specific thank-you to a specific person. Not one of you had a direct role in the fact that I am staring out the window at a blooming pink cyclamen, but I can express my appreciation about that to anyone I want. (It’s the little things!)
Break the Rules
Some of us grew up in families that bonded by complaining about what was going wrong. Or by being cynical about just about everything. If that was the soil in which you bloomed, I fully appreciate how difficult it might be to express appreciation. You might sound like a Pollyanna, by comparison to what you heard growing up, if you bless those blessings out loud. Do it anyway! Go ahead, break those rules that might play a role in reducing joy. There are many worse things than being called a Pollyanna. Choose your recipients wisely; just experiment and see what unfolds.
Your November 2014 Prompts for Joy
When I think about the hours of joy that websites such as YouTube, Wimp, and Vimeo bring, wow! I am not just appreciative but in awe.
Click here to appreciate an incredibly clever book, and an advertisement for it that just has to make you giggle. (Gratitude to Karen Smith for this gem!)
Click here for a big arigato (thank you) from Japan following the 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami of 2011. (Big appreciation to Roberta Gelt for consistently sending me links to videos that become Prompts for Joy!)
All previous Prompts for Joy (PFJs) can be found at my website, unless the video url is no longer functional.
Joy-Gram for November 2014
How about expressing appreciation for yourself? Take a risk and share THAT with someone!
This painting by my Dad, Geoffrey Clark, was inspired by a post card I sent my parents from a favorite California spot: Point Reyes. Hopefully, I expressed adequate appreciation to Dad while he was still alive; I remain so proud of, and inspired by, the beauty he created with water colors, in his garden, and in beautifully wrapped gifts.
By no means
do I have joy “figured out.” Please do not assume
that I do! I write Out On a Limb as much as a meditation for
myself in the ongoing pursuit of joy, as for you. I think this
pursuit is a lifelong journey and that the full experience
of joy is, at best, episodic. May we all have more episodes!
Martha Clark Scala, MFT · 721 Colorado Ave., Suite 201, Palo Alto, CA 94303 ·