52 Good Things in a Jar

Remember that “52 Good Things” jar I wrote about in my Lively Muse newsletter? It was an idea I discovered the first of the year and decided to keep my own list of 52 Good Things. Each week, during 2017, I wrote one good thing I wanted to acknowledge and remember on a 2″x2″ piece of paper, folded the little square and dropped it into the jar on my desk.

Sunday, December 31, I noted and stuffed the paper with the 52nd “good thing” in my jar—it listed the family holiday gathering the day before. Then on Monday, January 1, 2018, I dumped the jar out, spreading out the memories of all 52 of those good things noted from the passing year. One by one, I opened the little papers, remembering each “good thing” as I unfolded the square of paper.

Looking through them, I found so many good things I noted were events I shared with family and friends. I’d listed lots of creative explorations and writing/books/performance events. The Women’s March got its square, so did getting my new bed. Specific details of events during my journeys to Greece and Mexico were listed. Plays and musical performances, visits to our beautiful Balboa Park, an especially good writing day… and on and on and on, memory after memory of so many good things in my life.

Next, I pulled out one of the big card stock pieces I use for creating Vision Boards and glued each little unfolded square randomly on the base, linking them together with strong green lines. Rather than an orderly chronology, I liked the juxtaposition of some Big Event, like going to San Francisco with my friend Steve and seeing Alison Bechdel’s play, “Fun Home” with my Oakland family next to the smaller remembrance of the way the sun shone on the bougainvillea out my kitchen window one March morning.

I’m not sure where I’ll keep the 2017 Good Things display, but it will be fun to pull it out of its storage place every now and again, and remember once more how good and rich and full my life is.

Here’s the 2018 Good Things jar—empty and waiting to be filled, week by week, good thing by good thing.

Do you have a daily or weekly ritual that reminds you of the good things in your life?

12 thoughts on “52 Good Things in a Jar

    • Hello Arlene, I dropped my first “good thing” into my 52 Good Things jar for 2018 this morning. Let me know if you decide to do it, too.
      All best wishes for a wonderful New Year.

  1. What a great post Judy!
    I love the idea of the jar, what a thought!
    The nearest I have come to this was on an end of year Buddhist retreat where we were asked to write down, on a piece of paper, all the negativity we had experienced throughout the year that had affected us. Then we took part in a torched procession that weaved its way through the landscaped garden of the stately home where we were staying. Eventually we reached a blazing bonfire where we were asked to reflect on the contents of our ‘scribblings.’ The retreat leader spoke about casting off the old year and opening up to the potential of the new. Then, with due ceremony, as the new year broke we were instructed to throw our pieces of paper ( our year-long accumulated negativity ) onto the fire.
    A deep silence then ensued and finally we made our way back to our sleeping accommodation. The whole experience was deeply moving and subsequent attempts to replicate this ritual have, unfortunately, never made quite the same impact that this one retreat had made.

    I will retrieve a jar from our garden shed and start on my weekly positive thoughts.

    Thank you so much for this Judy!

    Happy New Year

    • Hello Michael, thank you, as always, for stopping by and telling a story about an experience or sharing a quote or an idea.
      There always seems to be something more powerful that happens when we do a meaningful act in the community of like-minded souls than when I do a ritual on my own. One reason I’m so looking forward to the Vision Boards retreat/workshop that will take place next Sunday.
      Your note reminds me of the thought I’ve had of taking all my old journals to the beach where I can send them into smoke and beyond as a way of releasing the past–not all of it negative, by any means, but just to lighten the load of what I’m carrying. I’ll let you know how that goes (if/when it does).
      All good wishes for a warm and wonderful New Year.

  2. What a great and very simple idea!! I have your book of days, use prompts often. At some point would love to attend one of your workshops. One of my son’s lives near Laguna Beach, so it is feasible. Thanks for sharing your positive energy!! Nathalie D’Arcangelo
    PS: The snow storm is as bad as they are saying ( here on Eastern LI) !! We are safe and warm # 1 for the 2018 jar!!

    • Oh Nathalie! I hope you are staying warm and dry and all is well as the storms continue in the other half of the country. It would be wonderful if, sometime while you’re visiting your son in Laguna Beach, to drop down to San Diego for a workshop. I have several coming up if you get a chance to come to the west coast to get warm this winter.
      Meantime, let’s just keep writing! Happy New Year.

  3. Really love this idea. I have a vision board on the wall in my office and I try to focus on that moving forward, but this is such a positive way to relive and feel the joy of the year gone by. Especially with the year we just had, we need those moments. I was at the Women’s March too! .

    It dovetails with my feeling that I need more balance in 2018. Last year I felt like flotsam and jetsam tossed around on the tide of painful global events. This year I want to celebrate the innocence of animals, moments in nature, hiking with friends, creative pursuits and accomplishments big and small. We must continue to live our lives to the best of our ability, despite outside influences.

    • Dear Deborah, Thanks so much for writing and especially for reminding me how important it is to celebrate those small things, and especially to be in the physical world rather than the world of the mind. Will I see you at the Women’s March on the 20th? I’ll be there.

  4. Ritual would go back again to that weight lifting-banana-coffee-NoteBook predawn and then going where the day takes me. Evening brings book to read and waking up an hour or more later with the book clenched in my hands and open to the starting page. Taking the nap to bed is also a good thing.

    Finally getting to how I will treat the maternal memoir (paternal is done) is a good thing for today.

    Good things abound over here.

    But we won’t look outside. Nothing good there: white, brown, grey, black, and of course, snow.

    Oh yes hearing from you is a Very Good Thing.
    Happy New Year.

    • Hi Linda, Thanks for stopping by, as always I’m glad to hear what you have to say. About that banana lifting: I keep cutting mine up and putting them on peanut butter toast.
      Happy writing as you delve into the maternal memoir. Happy everything.

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