My office burnt down. In fact, the whole building burnt down just before Christmas. It was called the Terminal Building and was established in 1888, in Fairhaven Historic District in Bellingham, Washington. No, I wasn’t in it. I left it four years ago when I retired from my private practice. As a licensed mental health counselor, it had been my home away from home for ten years and a place where four hundred or so people had come to me to for help. It was a happy place that was still being used for counseling by my peers.
In a way, it was a wake -up call. There’s no going back, but there is going forward. So this blog is my new happy place. Here I share positive ideas and activities and emotional support to spread the joy that can be available to anyone.
Starting with a new year, people often think of resolutions. Actions speak louder than words, however, so I would rather not make promises, but offer activities that are immediately available.
My favorite New Year’s Day activity started a few years ago when I started a jar of good things. It has certainly helped my positive outlook. It’ natural to focus on the difficulties we have had during a year, because those bothered us enough to stick in our minds. So to keep your thoughts about your life in balance, you can keep track of all the good things during a year in a very visible way.
I missed the actual New Year when I started mine so I used Chinese New year that first time. It was closer to my starting date. It’s good to be flexible, isn’t it? I use a quart mason jar but I think it would be fun to use a large vase. Or it might be fun to decorate the Mason jar with ribbon or make a fancy lid for it. Mine is just plain but when it fills up it becomes colorful because of the paper I use. I keep my jar on the kitchen counter where I see it all the time. That helps me to remember that there are good things happening in my life.
I used old business cards at first. But then I discovered there were lots of other sources for cardstock, like old Christmas cards. I have lots of neon-colored card stock from making my Car Detective activity books so I use that paper too and my jar is full of different colors. I cut the paper into business card size pieces and store them in a little box next to the Mason jar. Mine is just an old business card box but it could be something pretty, a pretty box sounds like a good idea. Maybe I should do that. Maybe I should make a pretty box out of some of that cardstock even. A bowl or tray would work well also…. whatever makes you happy.
When I started, I used Fridays as my prompt to write down a good thing that had happened that week. It is okay to have more than one. You’re making the rules. Some weeks may not seem to have had a lot of good things. But maybe I talked to a friend on the telephone or had someone do a kindness for me. Because when I am looking for a good thing for that week, it helps me to notice the positive things. When I notice them I can save them in my head for my good things jar.
As weeks go by, the jar fills up and it feels good to see how many good things have happened to me.
Then on New Year’s Day, I dump out the jar and read all the good things at once. There’s no surprises in there but it does fill me with a sense of positivity. So even though my microwave and leaf blower shorted out and my laptop is fried and I spent too much money on house repairs, it wasn’t all bad. My office burnt down and my cat is sick but I had some pretty nice things happen too.
I would love to see your good things jars. I’m sure I would be inspired to make mine prettier. But even if it is just white computer paper, I would love to see the positive things that you have recorded.
Let’s see the joy!