I have this weird habit when I eat potato chips. I think a lot of you have heard of it: make a wish when you get a chip that is folded over, but not broken, and you have to get the whole thing in your mouth. Oh, admit it, you know what I’m talking about!
How about the M&M one where you make a wish on the green ones? Well I have added a twist to both. For the M&Ms, I do make a wish on the green ones but I say “thank you” on the orange ones - my way of balancing the scales and remembering to be grateful. And those folded potato chips have evolved from wishing to thanking.
I say “thank you” a lot. I am that person who “pets” my car’s dashboard after she starts when it’s cold or executes a quick stop. It’s all become a habit, second nature, to notice the little bits of good as they happen.
It started from something Oprah said back in the day: if the only prayer you ever say is “thank you” it will be enough. I have no clue if she originated the words but it had a huge impact on my gratitude practice.
I started my gratitude habit when I lived in San Francisco in 2001. I was newly divorced, had just moved from Texas and was in a relationship with someone unavailable. I had moved for a job which ended up being so intense that we had to have a "no crying before 10 am" rule. Looking back, I had barely passed “Go” on my spiritual journey, but the gratitude habit felt like a keeper. It was my starting point.
I was too lazy to do the journaling piece, but I wanted it to have intention around it, so instead of just mumbling a few things before falling asleep for the night, I bought a bell. I tied a red ribbon around it (very Feng Shui of me) and I rang it before and sometimes during my gratitude practice.
I still have the bell and it's still on my bedside table, but I don't ring it before I go to sleep as it clearly annoys the dogs. Sometimes I use it to clear energy in the house. I have updated the ribbon (still red), and it often follows some Feng Shui rule I'm applying, finding new homes in various bagua corners.
It's funny, I rarely write down the things for which I am grateful. I can't say why. My journals are filled with intensely personal things, and yet journaling about gratitude seems ... I don't know, like it’s not the place.
I believe that something is sacred because you decide that it is. A rock, a feather, a bell, a journal or a folded-over potato chip. Our thoughts form our intentions which result in action.
So just start where you are. Say ‘thank you” for all of the things, little and big, expected and unexpected. Be a grateful soul and the universe will hear you.
(Photo credit Beth Schmoyer. Follow her on IG: @bschmoyer because she's awesome!)