Dear Pope Francis,
As promised, here is an update about how my #100GratefulDays challenge is going. The short answer, given with very little reflection, is that it hasn’t really gone anywhere. But as I think about it more, that’s not really true. I haven’t tried intentionally to be more grateful on a daily basis, but that doesn’t negate the fact that I did feel incredibly grateful for some of the good things that happened in the last month.
One thing I am realizing is that I am not the kind of person who thinks to share pictures on social media on a regular basis. This poses a real challenge for my goal to post a picture each day of the challenge. On one hand, it could be a good thing to push myself to do this, because it would make me more consciously aware of being grateful. But, on the other hand, it also forces me to live my life constantly looking for the picture to post, not recognizing the thing I am grateful for, which seems to defeat the purpose of starting the challenge in the first place.
My original intention was to focus on being intentionally grateful, even when it seemed like there was nothing to be grateful for – to be radically grateful. There have been some days where things seemed so bleak, I couldn’t see a single thing to be grateful for. This challenge is for days like that. It’s about creating a habit in which I look at the positives, the silver lining, and/or good stuff.
The pictures are helpful for one thing – they are good at helping me realize just how off track I got in my challenge. They are a built in accountability tool. Accountability is a good thing, I may need to find a different way of holding myself accountable. I don’t know exactly what that looks like just yet, but I know it will come.
Going into the next third of my challenge, I want to focus on being accountable to the challenge, but I also want to really focus on being more grateful when things are bleak. I started the letter by saying that I can name times when I was grateful for the good things: like my trip to Europe, making new friends, and having good conversations with old friends. But radical gratitude isn’t just about being grateful when things are good, it’s about being grateful for my life simply because I have a life. It’s about saying that my life is enough just as it is, not when I have a job, or a certain number of friends, or when I’ve accomplished certain goals. Radical gratitude is about being grateful on the journey, and that is something that I need to work on.
For any readers who may have taken on my original challenge, or who want to join now, I encourage you to think about what your success and short comings in the first third of the challenge. Then think about what you want to work on in the next third. If you’re comfortable, feel free to share with us at LTP, either in the comments or send me a private message, or just keep it for yourself. Whatever works for you!
Gearing up for the next phase,