The No Small Thing Philosophy

I started this blog as I was coming out of some difficult personal challenges. I wanted to give more attention to positives in my life and by doing so, take more control over my emotions and my outlook. Setting the intention to start where I was and make no judgments about what type of experience was important enough to write about, I started to identify little things that brought me joy, contentment, or ease; things that sparked gratitude in me.

I was often surprised by what actually sparked good feelings. I wrote about the fine distinctions between lemons and limes, which prompted me to contemplate uniqueness in all things. I wrote about how grateful I was that a company where I worked for as a temp put a box of Kleenex at my cubicle. I wrote about the miracle of good timing based on the experience of just catching a train before its over-sized metal doors slid shut. I wrote about feeling delighted that the barista at my local Starbucks actually knew regular customers by name and remembered how they drank their morning brew.

Keeping my eyes out for things to write about did shift my perspective quite a bit. Spending more of my time in a grateful state elevated my spirit and improved my outlook.

After I published over a hundred posts, I noticed my life had really turned around. I was happier than I had ever been in my life, and I was convinced that my gratitude practice was at the core of this change. A friend suggested I write a book, which led me to re-read everything I had posted for a real analysis of the relationship between my writing and reflection practice and my life.

In the process of reading every No Small Thing entry I ever posted, I realized a few things that are at the core of what I might call the No Small Thing Philosophy.

Small things that touch me are incredibly worthy of my attention. Whatever I direct my attention to is how I empower myself. Giving more attention to things that make me feel good allows me to feel good more of the time.

What I am grateful for is personal to me just as what you are grateful for is personal to you. Rather than try to generate grateful feelings around things other people might tell me should provoke gratitude, like being happy I am not a child laborer in Sri Lanka, I simply focus on small but very real and immediate things that give me a boost.

While other gratitude practices have had some impact on me, like keeping a journal where I would end each day listing five things I was grateful for, I discovered that I generated more feelings, a stronger vibration, when I examined a smaller number of things that sparked gratitude but made deeper connections with the experience. Rather than counting my blessings, I discovered that the greatest power of gratitude was in knowing what makes me feel grateful personally and then practicing seeing those things in the present moment.

I learned:

–   Nothing’s too small to spark feelings of gratitude.

–   Be real. Be personal. What you feel grateful for is personal to you. And that’s as it should be.

–   Gratitude is best viewed as a mindfulness practice. Learn what makes you, personally, feel grateful for and then practice seeing those things in the present moment.

As I reviewed my blog entries, I recognized that the entries usually related to one or two main themes. I called these themes my grateful dozen. I recommend creating your own grateful dozen (which could actually be 7 or 8 themes) to establish a foundation for your own gratitude writing and reflection process. If you would like to share your grateful dozen you can do so by clicking here .Sharing the fruit of your reflection might inspire others.

Click here to see a list of my grateful dozen. My grateful dozen

Develop your own gratitude practice and watch your life change in many wonderful and unexpected ways.