Just a thought… To multiply your joy, count your blessings. [J. B. Priestley]
Welcome to a brand new year, and thank you for helping me to start my 20th year of blogging then vlogging with you here. I can’t even believe that.
The dawn of a new year can bring things that resemble resolutions: things like #DryJanuary (or as I gratefully call it, “January”) or planning to get into a new, healthier routine after a week, month or a few years of just letting go. Those are good things, for sure. But I am going to try to do something a little more philosophical – and one thing that you can do too if you like.
First, my friend Lisa Brandt, who’s launching a new podcast with me starting this Thursday called Gracefully & Frankly, is a follower of the Stoics. Yes, it’s a good band name, but they’re the Greek and Roman philosophers who laid out what I consider to be great groundwork for living: life rules that maximize positive emotions, reduce negative emotions and help us to hone the virtues of our character.
Now, that sounds like a lot, but one of the basic tenets is one I’ve lived, especially since our worlds were shattered in 2015, and it’s this: “Okay, that happened. Now what are you going to do about it?”
A guy I follow on Twitter, who is my portal to stoicism and learning and practising it more mindfully in 2023, is @ryanholiday – same handle on Instagram. When this New York Times bestselling author posted “11 Ways to find Stillness in Your Life” I thought, oh I’ve got to share this with you.
They go as follows:
Stop Watching the News
Put Your Phone Away
Get Rid of Stuff
Enjoy the Small Pleasures
Realize You Have Plenty
Build a Routine
Those things are all more easily said than done, sure, but if you want a little help, let me show you something that I saw over the holidays that kind of wrap together #8 and #9.
You get a Mason jar if you have one, a pickle jar or maybe a vase. (That’s what I’m using.)
One day a week you write on a piece of paper something good that happened to you in the past week. And then, at the end of 2023, you can pour out the pieces of paper and read all the things you have for which to be grateful.
I’ll be starting mine this Sunday and, if you don’t mind, I’ll try to remind you on Monday next week here in case it slips your mind. It’s like a gratitude journal but a little more – I don’t know – tangible? I hope you’ll give it a go. What can we lose by being more mindful of the things we have for which to be grateful, right?
Speaking of which, a new year of Drift Sleep Stories begins tonight with The Elves and the Shoemaker. It’s available free wherever you get your podcasts, or just click here. And as I said, this Thursday, go to g-and-f.simplecast.com for a link to our very first Gracefully and Frankly podcast. It’s free, of course, or find us at Gracefully and Frankly on Facebook where there’s a fun video we shot together explaining the whole thing. Wait, did number 11 on that list say “Pace Yourself?” Right….