We are halfway through our challenge, you have stepped out of your comfort zone, listening and sharing honestly with yourself and that is brave, and takes courage. The effort you are putting into this experience deserves to be celebrated!
Three years ago, my friend and I were both going through big transitions in our lives and were struggling to find hope. We decided to adapt a gratitude ritual we had instituted on our Birthright trips and since then, three years later, we both wake up and the first thing we do every morning is email each other three moments of gratitude. This lens has shifted the way I experience life. I know that sounds huge, that's because it is. I live my life through a lens of gratitude. I noticed, and still do, that I focus on the negative before the positive. Someone pointed that out to me and it stung, because I don't want to be that person, because it made my life feel unhappy, when it actually wasn't. I didn't realize how much it affected me and others around me.I am now aware and put effort into sharing the positive first while also sharing the challenging pieces too.
What we think and then put out into the world affects the people around us, it has a big ripple affect. No matter what we are going through, even the shittiest of experiences, we still have a choice, not saying this lightly or that it is simple, but we have a choice in the words we speak and put out in the world - along with the energy and perspective from which we do that. I am not saying there is not room for disappointment, frustration, confusion etc... but those pieces will be there, and now our challenge is to help ourselves create a fuller life for ourselves by celebrating moments OUT LOUD.
Some people see the Torah as the blueprint to mastering the human experience. Interesting perspective, right? Gratitude is focused on and valued deeply because when we include other people in our human experience through positivity we are building belonging, connection and healing- what we are looking to create: a healthy and more whole world. A coach of mine once said "When in doubt, focus out." This echoes in my brain often. There are so many moments in our lives to doubt myself or the world but when I can focus out, focus on other people either around my purpose in life or moments of gratitude, I believe the world swells with love and growth, even just a small amount, and small amount grow to become big ones!
One place we see the value of gratitude being prioritized in Judaism is through blessings. Blessings are everywhere! God blesses, people bless each other, in modern times, blessings over food, different natural phenomena, waking up in the morning and the list goes on! Blessings are moments to focus intentionally about an experience and be grateful outside ourselves. "Making a blessing on something is an incredible tool to instill gratitude in our hearts. When someone makes a blessing, they are reminded to feel gratitude and not just focus on our desires."- Sam Strasser.
This is HUGE! "Studies show that we can deliberately cultivate gratitude, and can increase our well-being and happiness by doing so. In addition, gratefulness—and especially expression of it to others—is associated with increased energy, optimism, and empathy."- Psychology Today Magazine. All I have to say is, framing gratitude through a lens of celebration creates magic, try it, and also, trust me!
Experience Day 4: We Celebrate Everything!
Whatever this year was or is for you, today we are focusing on celebrating and bringing gratitude to light. Small moments, moments you were proud of yourself, moments that brought you deep joy, moments where people showed up for you, maybe even strangers who showed up for you.
Moments of celebration don't have to be conventional celebration moments. They could even be: finally succumbing and going to therapy, because for you that might have been really difficult or celebrating not getting frustrated when you had to stay at work late, or celebrating the mountains you got to ski or snowboard down this year. It can be anything, there is depth in all that we celebrate, the BIG to the small. Sometimes the 'small' or simple things actually the big ones.
Post-its in hand- check!
Designated spot for your storyboard- check! Keep adding and playing!
1. Take 5 post-its and write #4 and "I am celebrating..." on a corner of each post it.
2. On each post it, hone in on 5 moments you are celebrating from this year. What sticks out to you, what represents experiences you want to bring with you into the new year, or your new chapter.
The moments you write will continue to add to the patterning about your priorities, but for now let's focus on celebrating!