Wednesday, 23 December 2015

The Daily Jar

The other day someone on Facebook posted an idea that I think is really excellent.  The idea is to keep a large empty jar (think, one of those huge glass jars usually used for pickled eggs – of course emptied and preferably washed to get rid of the pickled egg smell, unless, of course, you’re into that sort of thing), a small stack of note paper, and a pencil or two on a desk or counter where it is easy to see and access.  Throughout the year, whenever something good happens, you write about it on one of the little slips of paper and pop it into the jar.  At the end of the year, you open up the papers and read about all the lovely things that have happened throughout the year.  What a nice idea!  Something about this idea intrigued me.  I mean, of course, it’s a pleasant thought – but, perhaps it’s the start of an even better concept.  How can I incorporate this into my life in a way that makes it really my own idea?  How can I make this even more meaningful to me? 

I love the simplicity of the pencil and paper, a recycled glass jar.  In this day and age of technology, I still like tangible things.  Don’t get me wrong – I pity the person who tries to take my smart phone away from me, but there’s something magical about holding an actual book and being afraid to blink when you turn the page because you might lose the story, break the spell.  How satisfying it is to see the wrinkled spines of books lovingly read and sitting on a shelf just waiting to be read yet again.  Electronically plunking in letters to fill in the squares of a crossword puzzle on my tablet just isn’t the same as sitting with your steaming cup of coffee, poring over the paper and filling in letters boldly in ink when you’re sure you’ve got it right.  The therapeutic value of slamming down the phone to convey your frustration just can’t be duplicated in this era of softs beeps and slight vibrations.  So it makes sense that having paper to hold in my hand, a pencil’s slight scratching sound to hear, a jar slowly filling with notes tied up in little scrolls to look at, perhaps even the faint pickle odor that couldn’t be washed away, no matter what.  Maybe all those things that appeal to my senses help to round out the experience.  To make the act of recording happy things even more real, more meaningful, even happier, because they are not only attached to my memories, but to my physical being as well.  The thoughts become tangible through the act of writing them down and storing them in a jar.

Well that all sounds very poetic, doesn’t it?  And that wasn’t really where I was going with this at all.  I was supposed to be explaining how I turned that into this.  Into why I’m writing something called “The Daily Jar”.  As I thought about this lovely idea, this gratitude jar, I thought that instead of making New Year’s resolutions that are supposed to make us happy in the future, maybe writing about the good things throughout the year and reading them on New Year’s Eve would be a great way to be happy now, about what is, not just possibly happy about what might be.  Imagine, a way to take the happy thoughts and make them tangible, to give them an actual space (even if it’s just in a jar), to be looked at and smiled over and recalled.  Not only will those events have made us happy when they actually happened, but we give them a second opportunity to warm us, fill our hearts and make us glad.  How great is that.

Then I thought, “Well sure, that’s just an awesome idea, but why wait until the end of the year?”  Wouldn’t it be great to add something to the jar every day?  I’m sure I could find something to be grateful and happy about almost every day.  I’m certain that I can add some thought, some small gesture, a delicious taste, a wonderful smell, a pleasant sound, each and every day that brings me joy, makes me happy.  I like to write (yes, I’m typing, I’m way too lazy to write this amount of text by hand – don’t judge me, I’m complicated).  The writing itself is a pleasure for me.  So why not try it.  Why not try to fill my jar a little every day. 

The Daily Jar has another meaning too, though.  Along with being a way to identify my gratitude and joy on a daily basis, it is also a way to “jar” some ideas from my brain and to shift my mood into one of happiness.  I was watching a TED talk the other day where the speaker was saying we need to be happy first, not keep saying “Once I (fill in the blank), then I’ll be happy”.  Filling the jar a little each day, jarring myself to see the joy each day – to make my happiness tangible each day – these things help me to realize I am happy now, that there is joy in my life now.  That is The Daily Jar.

1 comment:

  1. Love the idea of a jar filled with good things that have happened throughout the year! :)

    All the best with your daily jar project!