For the past several years, I’ve seen a post floating around the Internet that instructs people to place a large empty jar somewhere visible in their home, and every time something really good or happy or positively surprising happens, write it on a piece of paper and put it in the jar. Then, at the end of a whole year of doing this, you’ve got a whole jar stuffed with happy memories that you can read and savor.
This past year, I finally thought to do it! My this year’s self is very grateful to my last year’s self for starting this tradition in my home. Why? Going through my “Jar of Joy” yesterday was so enlightening and inspiring to me! This past year has been one of the most difficult ones of my entire life due to a tragic and sudden loss – to a violent suicide – of a close friend of almost 30 years. And that loss came on the heels of a solid year of grieving other lost family members and friends, so there was a period during last year that I was lost in a sea of grief, and every day was a struggle to keep “practicing what I preach” and learning to grieve but keep GOING and keep GROWING at the same time, while not giving in to wanting to just give up.
This Joy Jar showed me that even when I think there is too much darkness for any light to get through, that is not really true… The light is ALWAYS there, we just have to look for it AND we have to write it down so that it doesn’t get lost in the dark.
I found fabulous little nuggets like:
Got a kayak today and I am SO GRATEFUL to my friend S. for giving it to me!
It is cold and pouring down rain outside, but reading about that moment revived it in me and I was filled with so much gratitude and EXCITEMENT, just by remembering that fabulous gift.
Another one was:
E. and I successfully rowed across the lake and back, including a moving turn, without stopping in our new favorite scull, Dark Matter. YAY!
If you’ve been keeping up with us, you know by now that I am a rower, and that I started indoor rowing and eventually began translating those skills to the water by learning to scull. It’s a life-long learning curve, so getting to the point that we can navigate our tiny domain without stopping AND successfully turn that crazy long boat without stopping is incredible! (One day, we’ll row in a bigger shell and have coxswain to tell us what to do, maybe, but until that day, we row doubles. And it’s hard! But SO FUN!)
And then there was this sweet one:
I had a great first real date with I. today, and the goodnight kiss was sweet.
I mean, do I have to say anything about this? A first kiss, even if it goes nowhere in the long term, is a sweet happy memory. <3
This was exciting too:
Complete Life Coaching got a call from a NASDAQ-traded company today to ask if we’d considering giving a talk on dealing with high stress in the workplace! (My comment on that little slip of paper was: Wow! We’re both excited!)
Sometimes, memories are exciting enough to give us a whole new *spark* when we think about them! And a lot of the times, that spark will inspire us to keep moving towards our goals, even the giant daunting REALLY big picture ones!
As I went through the jar, I found evidence of progress made on many of my goals, and I discovered how I was able to keep up with many of my best practices for self-care, self-love, and self-discovery even when I thought I had basically thrown in the towel. I learned that there’s a part of me that pays attention to the positive, even when I seem overwhelmed by the negative. I also learned that it’s so wonderful to have and acknowledge all my support during crisis, and on the good days!
There were so many magical little memories from last year that I’d lost completely, but this jar saved them for me. Now, I am able to savor them! Please try this simple technique, and I promise your next year’s self will thank you!