gratitude jar 2023

Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”

Lao Tzu

In 2014 I started keeping a gratitude jar. I had read about it and it’s a simple concept: It’s a mason jar full of things you’re grateful for. There’s no hard or fast rule as to how often you put a little piece of paper in your jar, it’s just when you think about it.

It’s mindfulness I suppose.

What are you grateful for?

Thankful for?

Maybe changing your life for the better can indeed be as simple as starting with a deliberate change in outlook? Glass half empty? Are you sure? It might be half full on the way to overflowing. The gratitude jar is a private reminder to you.

Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul.
~Henry Ward Beecher

The gratitude jar isn’t or shouldn’t be a prop so people can visit your home and say “Oh what a good person they are!”, it’s something for you. If you let it , what you write will teach you about yourself, others, your world. And it will help you to open up to the goodness that is possible. Learn how to cherish what is right there.

Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.

~Benjamin Franklin

Sometimes when a bunch of negative things happen all in a row, it’s hard to stay positive. I find it hard to stay positive because I do not think by my very nature I am naturally positive. I have to work at it. It may sound silly, but I think my gratitude jar has helped.

I really feel positive for me has been learned behavior, and it’s something I have to relearn and reaffirm again and again. Hopefully, someday it will be second nature to me.

I am sure that some are reading this post and wondering if I am the same person who ripped a politician a new one in another post today. Yes I am. Speaking my truth takes many forms.

Having a gratitude jar is a simple reminder that life is not all bad or all difficult. Having a gratitude jar helps you focus on the things that are wonderful in your life. Even every day little things are wonderful.

Having a gratitude jar helps us reaffirm the many positives in our life. Life can be hard. I am not trying to be Pollyanna and say everything is always wonderful with fuzzy caterpillars that turn into magical butterflies. I am more of a realist than that.

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” 

~ Thornton Wilder

Sometimes I look through what I put in my gratitude jar. My gratitude is pretty consistent.

Feeling grateful as a powerful emotion. Ours is a time where as hard as it is we also have to be grateful. Grateful that we are alive. Coronavirus and COVID-19 separated so many people from their friends and families the past few years. So have social issues and politics.

Life has been hard for so many the past few years. Often unnecessarily so. Sometimes human beings by their very nature make things more difficult than they have to be.

So now starts year 9 for my gratitude jar. I have all of my slips of paper. I am not re-reading everything and I am not emptying my jar like some people do.

Will 2023 be the year people try on a little more gratitude and mindfulness? Time will tell.

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.
~ Joseph Brackett 1848