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Jar up the joy

On a day when your writing project feels a little blah, or you can't face that page for one more hour, allow yourself this productive left turn:

  1. Pull out a good pen.

  2. Scissor up some nice paper into squares.

  3. Scrub a recycled salsa jar until it's squeaky.

  4. Stick __________'s name on the jar. This is the name of a person you love and appreciate.

  5. Write a bunch of notes on each slip of paper. Thank your person for certain moments or gestures, things about them you think are delightful, good stuff you haven't forgotten. Use your imagination.

  6. Fold up the notes and stick them in the jar.

  7. Let your muse handle the decorating.

  8. Go find your person. Hand them the jar.

  9. Smile.

  10. Watch what happens.

You might thank your person for those pancakes when you were ten. Or for lending you their bike though you're prone to wrecking tires. Maybe you like their freckles or their macrame? Tell them how they made that boring conference funny. You loved that meal, the visit, the way they listen, grumble or sing. Thank them for the pep talk and the road trip and the extra twenty bucks; or for not making a huge deal that one time. Anything true will do.

A few years ago I gave these thank you jars to everyone in my family. Writing the notes was more fun than I expected. People said they were tickled by the messages, or they got misty. My Dad even tried to ration his notes to reading one a day, but he couldn't do it.

This Joy Jar idea came from the fabulous Sherry Richert Belul. On her Simply Celebrate! website, she presents a thousand ways to amp up the beauty and playfulness and meaning in our lives. Go check her out!

Then maybe take a few minutes to tap your pen against your temple. Picture the gems of gratitude you have stored up for a certain person. Think what sharing them might feel like to both of you...


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