Towards the end of July I realised that my daily practice of writing ‘Today I’m grateful for’ was becoming a chore not a delight. I was writing just a few simple words for each thing. This seemed to defeat the whole point. So I had a rethink.

For my birthday a friend bought me a beautiful creamer jug. It had sat in its box for a couple of months while I decided what to do with it. I could use it as an actual jug, but I felt that it wouldn’t see the light of day that often, and that seemed a shame for something so pretty.

My gratitude jug on the shelf

I’d read of the concept of a gratitude jar many months before but hadn’t thought it would work for me and, at that time, I was happy with my gratitude practice. But, armed with my pretty jug, some brown paper cut from a notebook, and an ink pad and stamp I decided to give it a try. (I used the stamp and ink pad to prettify the outside of the first notes I wrote)

The size of the notes encourages me to write a few sentences, rather than a few words, which, in turn, encourages me to write more descriptive text. The fact that they sit on the bookshelf in our spare room, the room in which I spend a lot of my research time, allows me to easily pick one out and revisit it whenever I want or need. This is something I never did when they were hidden in my notebooks, and they probably wouldn’t have enough depth to them to give me that pathway back in the memory either.

Looking into the jug

Last week I emptied them all out in front of me, and then randomly picked them out, read them, refolded them and put them back in the jug. I’d written more of them than I remembered writing, and they took me back to places that weren’t at the front of my memory. They left me feeling full of emotion, and with a wide smile on my face.

As with all things like this, it’s a work in progress. While it works for me I’ll continue doing it. When it doesn’t, I’ll shake it up and change it around. For now, though, it feels like a beautiful use for a beautiful jug. And for that, I’m very grateful.