This is not about books…

…nor about writing or poetry….

over a year ago I started a 365 day project: I committed (to myself) that everyday I would tweet (@KerryHammerton) one thing for which I am grateful. Just one thing.

I was inspired by an article I read in a magazine which reported that a woman started a 365 day gratitude project to help her overcome her depression. She posted her daily gratitude on Facebook. I liked the idea! (I have subsequently lost the article and I don’t remember the details).

So where was I a year ago? – in a dark place certainly but not the worst place I have been and looking for something to help me get out of my funk. And where am I today? – in a better place but irritatingly happiness remains an elusive quality. I am grateful for life. I am grateful for my quality of life. I am grateful for the things that have changed and shifted over the last year. And I am grateful for social media that has enabled me to share my story.

What have I learnt? That I can’t count! I started my 365 day project on 10 April 2012 (which was a Tuesday) – and 365 days later it should be… yes! 9 April. Not July!

And the surprising thing that I learnt is that I actually like early mornings! Every time I had to get up early for work or an appointment in town, I was always grateful. I think it has something to do with the quality of light early in the morning.

On the first day I wrote: today I am grateful for the extra half-an-hour sleep I managed after I turned off my alarm clock.

On the last day I wrote: today I am grateful that I have had a whole year to reflect on gratitude.

Here are my twenty favourite tweets:

Day 354 – that I am a self-starter, an uber-planner and a self-motivator. Without these I would be dead in the water!
Day 353 – for breathing space, for a slow life at the moment. Lots of time to reflect and dream the future.
Day 326 – for the tasty 33% Lancashire cheese I had with my scrambled eggs for breakfast! Very Yummy!
Day 284 – for me! (well sometimes you have to be!)
Day 256 – for not burning down the house after putting some butter on to melt (I can cook!) and then getting distracted!
Day 248 – for Fine Music radio playing music about dancing processes and a bear this morning! Delightful images in my head!
Day 250 – there are always alternatives and the universe is one of limitless possibilities
Day 244 – that my memory is not completely gone…needed passwords floating to the top after an absence of a month
Day 241 – today I am going to take advice from Charlie Brown and be grateful for everything
Day 232 – my mother’s home baked mince pies – Always the best!
Day 221 – I am a neurotic and not a narcissist. Despite all the sleeplessness that it brings!
Day 189 – sausages and mash. Even if I cooked it myself – it remains my favourite meal
Day 186 – that I can do anything – including reverse park a long-wheel base bakkie on a busy city street
Day 178 – today I am grateful for my underwear that tells me I am gorgeous and special!
Day 145 – for the grapefruit and orange hand wash in the bathroom – reminds me that life is a multidimensional experience
Day 132 – pomegranate flavoured rooibos – you have to find the gratefuls where ever they are!
Day 85 – that my mother taught me to be polite. Always the easiest way to behave no matter the circumstances
Day 82 – for the morning mist obscuring and revealing the urban landscape in breathable ways
Day 76 – for a gritty and frustrating day – it reminds me that a good night’s sleep is critical to feeling even tempered
Day 75 – for knowing that nothing is permanent, it is how I respond that is important

So what is next? Another 365 day project. This time I am going to consciously do things that make me happy and I am going to post a tweet about it! I will continue to post gratitude tweets as well.

Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project) says “To think about happiness, think about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right, in an atmosphere of growth”

In other words, to be happier, I need to boost my good feelings, put a stop to my bad feelings, and pursue my right feelings in an atmosphere of growth…

…so here goes….

To aid me in my happiness journey I will be reading:

Dalai Lama The Art of Happiness (Hodder & Stoughton 1998)
Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche The Joy of Living (Harmony Books 2007)
Gretchen Rubin The Happiness Project (Harper Collins 2009)

Here are the recurring themes in my gratitude tweets:

Book and Writing Stuff:

  • Book sales
  • Bookslive (website)
  • Franschhoek Literary Festival
  • Poetry
  • Reading
  • Time to reflect and write in my journal
  • Writing

People:

  • Being kind or nice to other people
  • Finuala Dowling
  • Friends generally
  • Joanne Hichens
  • Leadership Embodiment SA teachers group
  • The fabulous HELP support group
  • My acupuncturist
  • My beauty therapist
  • My char
  • My Fairy Godmother (aka Donna McCullum)
  • My yoga teacher
  • Pleached Poetry
  • Prof. Tim Noakes
  • The Moody Divas

Other:

  • Being on holiday (especially in the summer)
  • Fridays (a lot of those)
  • In severe winter weather always grateful for a keeping warm and dry
  • Kirstenbosch Gardens
  • Lazy days in bed
  • Leadership Embodiment
  • Meditation
  • My dawn simulator alarm clock
  • Purple, particularly underwear and nail polish
  • School holidays (lighter traffic)
  • Sleep
  • The weather – grateful for rain and sunshine
  • Walks on the mountain
  • Weekends and particularly long weekends
  • Working for myself
  • Yoga