A Pinterest reminder.

Dear Friends,

courtesy of http://pinterest.com/tracif/wise-words/

With gratitude {for serendipitous reminders},

Joan the happy

The Gratitude Project: a new year’s resolution.

Dear Friends,

2011 was a trying year.

Sometimes I think they all are. I mean, who looks back on any given year and says “Wow! I really nailed that one!” ? I suppose some people do — Warren Buffett, maybe. But for those of us who are slogging through this earthly life without benefit of vast resources or magical powers, our years bring us both highs and lows, blessings and challenges, and I believe we are luckier than most if we can look back and surmise a year was filled with more good than bad.

Take my 2011, for example. To one observer, my year could be considered exciting, adventurous, and brimming with new opportunities. Another might say it was difficult, discombobulated, and frightening. Truth is, it was both. Life has an inherent duality that way. “Grandma” (played by Helen Shaw) in the movie Parenthood summed it up best:

You know, when I was nineteen, Grandpa took me on a roller coaster. Up, down, up, down. Oh, what a ride! I always wanted to go again. You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited, and so thrilled all together! Some didn’t like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it.

Like every other year of my life, 2011 had some peaks and some valleys. But as it drew to a close and I looked back on the sum of it, I found myself discontented and more melancholy than usual. “It isn’t supposed to be this way,” I thought to myself. “This was my big year!”* But as I reflected further, I realized that every good thing is imbued with a little bad; and every bad thing has an element of good. Why did I possibly think 2011 would be any different?

So, I vowed to make 2012 a year of gratitude. Myriad blessings float through my life every day. Like specks of dust, many of them are invisible unless viewed in a prism of bright sunlight. I started this blog to shine the light on all the specks of joy and love and beauty and grace floating around my life that might otherwise go unnoticed. I’m going to train my gratitude muscles, so to speak; in doing so, I hope to avoid the mental trap that convinces us perfection — something better — is just around the corner. Life — the life we hold in our hands now, which is the only life we really have — is messy  and imperfect and uncertain. But that doesn’t make it unsatisfactory . . . as long as we cultivate gratitude.

Gratitude is life’s great elixir. Drink deeply, folks. I invite you to  join me on this journey of appreciation for all that we are and all that we share. Leave me a comment if anything I write resonates with you. Or set me straight if you disagree.  Together, our gratitude project might be just what the doctor ordered.

With gratitude {for another year},


* For the back story on my big year, click here.