If you've been following me on Chookooloonks for any amount of time, you know that I'm a huge proponent of having a gratitude practice. I truly believe that the practice of gratitude -- spending a moment each day reflecting on one good thing that happened during the previous 24 hours -- is one of the keys to living a joyful life. In addition to being a way to gather evidence of moments of beauty, I think a gratitude practice is significant in building resilience -- when faced with a tough situation, having a solid gratitude practice can help you realize it's possible to get through it, because history has shown you that you can.
But what about those times when your day is just really, really crappy?
Well, in those days, I think it's important to curate some beauty into your life.
This is actually a lesson I learned a few years ago, when I was helping a friend hang photos for a local exhibit. The photographs were the works of many women photographers, and my friend, who had chosen all the images, was figuring out which photographs should go where in the space. We began sorting the photographs and placing them against the walls, based on size of the photographs, the length of the walls, that sort of thing.
At one point, the director of the gallery came out. "Oh, no," she said, looking at the photographs leaning against the walls. "They can't go like that." And she proceeded to rearrange the images.
My friend and I were pretty surprised; however, once the director was finished, there was no mistaking that the exhibit definitely looked more cohesive. Thing is, for the life of me I couldn't tell you exactly what she'd done, or why she'd rearranged the photographs the way she did. But it was the first time I really truly understood the power of a good curator. There's something to be said for having a critical eye for what works and what doesn't.
Since then, I've come to the somewhat startling realization that the same concept is true for life. I think up until that point, I operated under the assumption that life was something that just happened to me: that good things and bad things happen, and my mettle or strength of character were measured based on the way in which I handled the circumstances. To some extent, of course, this is true: often events occur in our lives that are completely out of our control. But -- and this is the startling part -- I realized that for the rest of the time, I can, in large part, curate it. That instead of living on autopilot, I can actually put my hands on the throttle, not just to make major life changes (as I have in the past), but also effect minor adjustments just for the purposes of making life more lovely.
And so, whenever I'm having a rough day, I make a point of curating a bit of lovely into my life, so that I guarantee myself something to reflect on at night during my gratitude practice. This act doesn't have to be big -- sometimes it's just stopping to buy myself a grocery-store bouquet of peonies; other times it's promising myself an extra 5 minutes in the bathtub that night, or choosing to turn off the television and dive into a book or magazine instead. Something simple, that I know will bring me a few moments of contentment.
Because, it turns out that after gratitude, that the second most important key to living a joyful life is knowing you have the power to make it so. And taking the time to curate beauty into your life is a great reminder.
Only 3 spaces remain in this fall's LimeLight Sessions -- and early bird pricing ends this week. If you'd love to learn more tools on curating beauty in your life, I'd love to have you -- click here to register now.