Annabel, Gioia’s 16 year-old daughter, reappears this month as the subject of our summer “Youth Series”. Similar to last month’s theme, “Attending to the Good “, which is designed to bring conscious focus to what is functioning in and around us, this month she reflected on an exercise called “Appreciating Small Things.” The instructions for this directive are to “Notice small things throughout the day that positively impact the quality of your daily life and do artwork in response. ” Below we give you Annie’s observations on engaging in that process:
I decided to create a list with the things I noticed. It was helpful for me because it made me realize how much I have to be grateful for, and in doing that, it made me happy. It was a simple task so I didn’t feel like it was draining either. I found myself writing down everything from fuzzy socks to compassion. I ended up with 42 things listed, but I have to admit one of my favorite parts was decorating my list afterwards. I’m happy with the completion of this directive because if I’m ever feeling negative emotions, I can glance over at the list and remember the tiniest things which come together to positively impact my life in a big way.
Looking over Annie’s list, we get the sense that although it stops at 42, if there were more room she probably would have kept going. That’s because not only did she tap into the simple things that make her life better, she also tapped in to one of her super strengths-gratitude. (Some of you might remember that several years ago we put out an “Annabel Challenge” to our readers because Annabel, when was just 11, after she had been given the suggestion to list 3 blessings, got so inspired that she ended up with 100!) .
Not all of us will find that many things for which to be grateful, but once again the point is again to bring more conscious awareness to positive things in our lives. Click here to get a useful handout to help build that strength.
The impact of combining this process with art is that it elevates the content. Art makes things more special; the mundane more joyful. We might not necessarily call a decorated gratitude list “high art”, but we can use it to connect in a more pleasing and evocative way with the simple things that make us feel better. That will make it more personal and meaningful.
Annabel, Gioia, and Rebecca
Notice small things throughout the day that positively impact the quality of your daily life and do artwork in response-either make a collage with images that include those things or simple make a list like Annie did. Post it to our FB page. We’d love to see what you come up with!