Gratitude is the new Happy in terms of writing trends and with Thanksgiving a few days away there’s plenty of syrupy pieces being written. We all know how much the rant-ress loves those. [see: chin-up my ass or pollyanna is passive aggressive]
Recently, a friend linked an article in their “marketing” email suggesting that “love, praise and gratitude” can change your DNA. When I tried to find an actual study, there was no veritable science I could cite. Though there were some fuzzy pictures of altered cells that had been ‘praised and appreciated,’ along with one abused cell entitled, “You make me sick; I will kill you.”
Regardless, I discovered something about practicing appreciation when a friend of mine decided to do something she called, 100 Days of Gratitude on her FB page. She’d post a photo that embodied some aspect of her world that she’d observed and admired adding words of acknowledgement. She told me that after the initial 10 or so obvious picks, she had to look deeper and it changed the way she looked at her whole life. I joined her in this cheery activity doing 50 Days, writing crisp little descriptors of what delighted my whimsy, adding direct or oblique photos I’d taken.
I love to take on miniature ‘assigned’ creative ventures. Venture, after all, is the other half of ‘adventure.’ What I found was that—like when working with poems/songs where snippets amoeba about my mind all day taking shape, flitting apart—I’d be secondarily thinking and watching through this new lens as my work-a-day life rolled through me.
Endorphin hits were sweet and available in bite-sized bits each day. I couldn’t keep up with all the joy-giving ‘conditions’ surrounding me. Most adults are often looking for some feel-good chemicals but have been culturally trained that the best place to get them is from without: drugs, alcohol, weed, random hook-ups, gambling, shopping, etc.. If your endorphins depend on stimulation instead of inspiration, they’re not sustainable.
So for fun, why not try a 28 day exercise (to match moon cycles). I said, FUN, not another ‘uplifting’ yet soul-smothering head dictum about “right living” but an enjoyable uncomplicated way to “change your life” as the galvanizing New Age-ers love to wax on about. Okay, it won’t be that dramatic but it will inspire your vision of existence.
Pick a start date and take your camera or iPhone out for a walk engaging your imagination in hoarfrost, ice puddles, Larch “fur.” Drops of water on Lacinato kale, art, a sparkling Riedel glass of chianti, candlelight. Downy comforters, Italian leather boots, an 3-foot anthill, fluffy snowflakes, lake swimming, hiking boots… Share on Facebook, Tumblr, email, wherever.
Let Bruce Cockburn’s lyrics prompt you:
Little round planet in a big universe / Sometimes it looks bless-ed, sometimes it looks cursed / Depends on what you look at obviously/ But even more it depends on the way that you see.
Go! Go! GO!
*photo is of planet Mercury