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My friend Celia and I embarked on a 4 week, daily gratitude practice together and concluded tonight with a long talk on what we learned along the way. Celia is a meditating friend of mine from my hometown and is one of the four of us who had formed our “mini-sangha” sitting group on Sunday nights that evolved into regular half day retreats.

In detail, we promised to list every night 5 things we were grateful for from the day with a promise that we would talk about our progress at least once a week. I got so much out of this practice. Below are a few unsorted reactions.

1. I was feeling down because January and February I always get a little depressed and worse, its a bit lonely here in Scranton. I was feeling sorry for myself and deciding to do this was a good sign to me that I have learned that I have enormous freedom from my emotions and can choose to disengage from negative and move towards positive ones.

2. I’m not as eternally optimistic and grateful as I like to imagine I am. I would say 1/3rd of the days were straight up hard to be positive, 1/3rd just neutral, and a 1/3rd I was brimming with joy I couldn’t way to share. Celia called this a mindfulness practice, saying it forced her to look at where she was right now, every night. I think that nailed it the head. Where am I right now? What choice do I have to make that better? Look at all this good around me!

3. I loved getting to know Celia a little better. I liked sharing with someone a little peak into my world too. It is great to have friends who are mutually interested in personal and spiritual growth.

4. I have a TON to be grateful for. Even on the crummy days.

5. A lot of the times the things I’m stressed or negative about are the best places to find a lot of things to be grateful about. Hate the mess in the house? Wow, I have a house. Stressed at work? I have a job, better a career!

6. I’d like to do this again with a new friend. I’m going to solicit volunteers instead of approaching someone. I’d like to see if someone surprises me and wants to do this. The pairing was a must. I think I would have gotten through 5 days if it wasn’t for Celia’s help.

7. I guess this isn’t a surprise but the things I’m most grateful for are the people. I have so many people I love immensely and it was nice to be able to remember and celebrate that.

This was an awesome month. I’m hoping my friend Celia will right a response to this to share her thoughts. Thank you for everything Celia.

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How to do a 28 Day Gratitude Project

1. Pick a friend and discuss how you’ll move forward, what your intentions are and why you want to do this.

2. We decided to share 5 things every night by email and committed to once a week talking on the phone. We ended up doing more of the weekly summaries by email, but we concluded with a nice chat.

3. Change it. Do it again.

Awesome.

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