The season of gratitude and giving is upon us, and with it a time for reflection on a year worth our appreciation. Of course, all year long we should be mindful of the little and big things that make our lives special. However, it is still worth pausing to ask ourselves the questions that help us remember how we stay grounded in our shared human experience.
Coupled with this, I’ve had the act of curating on my mind lately. The phrase, to curate, is mostly used in the world of art or other museum-related fields, but it’s applicable to our everyday lives. Consider its meaning, “to select, organize, and look after items in a collection,” according to the New Oxford American Dictionary. If we consider our lives as a collection of moments, then we are all curators of our own experiences. The idea that we, whether consciously or subconsciously, select and surround ourselves with people, places, and objects that are unique to us as individuals strike me as something obvious, yet often overlooked. And so, I found it a worthy experiment to apply this notion of curating to how we incorporate gratitude in our lives.
Since the best way to find answers is to ask questions, here are five questions to consider about gratitude. As you read through them, consider how you’d answer them for yourself, in order to curate your own physical and emotional space for gratitude.
- Do I make time in my schedule to reflect on what I’m thankful for during the day?
- Do I have space in my home for quiet reflection?
- When was the last time I sent a handwritten thank you note?
- When was the last time I had a conversation about gratitude with my family?
- When is the last time I volunteered in my community or participated in an opportunity to give back to those around me?
How did you do? Did you find yourself strong in some areas, but lacking in others? If you found yourself feeling like you don’t have time in your schedule, consider keeping a gratitude journal or setting a daily alarm to be mindful and appreciative each day. Don’t have a dedicated space in your home for quiet reflection? Find a reading nook or room to strip away the clutter of everyday life, and in that space add a few objects that bring you joy or a scent that brings about a sense of calm. Then use that space! If you haven’t sent a handwritten note lately, pick up a pen and paper and write one. Invest in some beautiful personalized stationery and keep it in that quiet space you just created. If you haven’t talked about gratitude lately at the dinner table, start tonight! Personally, I find it very easy to speak with my four-year-old daughter about how to be thankful and grateful. However, with my husband, I rarely go beyond the “thank you for x” or “I appreciate you for y.” This is the area I was surprised to recognize as an opportunity for growth in myself but grow I will.
And finally, looking for a way to get involved? Tap into the resources available at your place of work or in your community. I am very blessed to work for a company that believes in giving back. This month, we celebrated our partners with our annual vendor appreciation luncheon, as well as hosted our employee Thanksgiving luncheon. We also served lunch to young servicemen and women in partnership with the Greater San Antonio Builder Association. Find a connection that moves you and give back to it. Allow this season of gratitude to last all year as you find time and space to write it out, share it with others, and remember to be grateful for not only others but also for yourself. May these questions and simple solutions provide a frame of reference from which you can curate a world with a bit more rose in your colored glasses.
Written by: Stefani Hewitt
Marketing Manager, San Antonio