Great-full Summer: Seeing your world

To create a practice of gratitude, you have to cultivate a conscious awareness of your life in its chaotic, messy, glory. This is easier, of course, when things go well. But it's incredibly challenging to be grateful in difficult times. 

I am not an expert on gratitude. I fail at not complaining. I get anxious. I worry. I lament and am envious of talent, skills (like DIY or photography) that others have. But I am aware that this behavior is not helpful. There is a theory that the energy you put out is the energy you invite. So the more negative you are, the more negative things come your way, or perhaps it's just that you see them that way. Similarly to luck, if you think you have it, you do. 

This isn't to say that crappy things don't happen. They certainly do. And there are times when we aren't sure why; what could the reason possibly be? Low points are low, often obvious to us. The struggles we face can feel like moving through quicksand. I recently lamented to someone that I wished that "it", life, job searching, whatever you want to insert here was just a little bit easier, that for once things were simple. But during our conversation, we talked about the importance of awareness, of recognizing and being grateful for the times that seem simple, where things fall into place (luck?). I also think we need to be grateful for what we learn as we experience challenges. This is the hardest part, for me. 

One of the best things about Project Life is that as I work on layouts, I am continuously aware of the magic, friends, amazing food, relationships and places in my life. I try to stop and take notice; this is one of the reasons I recap my layouts. The constant reflection allows me to make visible so many elements of my life and helps me to create a space of gratitude. So, Project Life is part of awareness for me.

As my mind races with a million things, logistics, what ifs, excitement, panic, all of it rolled into one, it is so easy to miss the beauty of this moment. I am surrounded by stuff I need to put into boxes or decide to give away. I have a chance, among the chaos, to be grateful for this process, for the stuff, for the opportunity to help someone else. 

The challenge today is to take a photograph or series of photographs with your phone, or camera of what you are grateful for, even if, and perhaps especially if it's also something that is giving you stress. Consider people, places, and things that make you smile. What do you want to appreciate by really, truly seeing it represented? 

Share your photos on twitter with the #greatfull hashtag or on your own blogs or Facebook. 

A small glimpse into the chaos: