A few years ago I met a girl who found a cancerous lump in her throat when she was in her early twenties. She said it turned her life all topsy turvy … for the better. Can you believe it?
She is 100% fine now but that ordeal changed her outlook on life forever. It forced her back to basics. She said, ‘My life had been all multi-dimensional and complicated. It was Pythagoras’s theorem and then overnight, everything changed and it all came down to just simple stuff, the 1+1.’
When she looked at her life and future as a whole, she was paralysed with depression and soul-grinding despair. Instead, she shifted her focus and divided her life into little, bite sized chunks. When she spent time with her family, walked in the countryside or had coffee with a friend, she thought ‘in this moment, right now, I feel really happy’. She started to collect these special, happy moments like a child collects marbles. These become her ‘marble moments’.
This girl’s experience resonated with Alastair and me. The term ‘marble moment’ has become part of our Surycz family lingo. When something happens that makes us feel happy, Alastair and I say, ‘That was a Marble Moment’. They’re usually simple things – sunny days, the flow when writing a blog, a lie in, a great chat, quality time with Alastair, a walk round the neighbourhood, a bargain at the supermarket, a cuddle from Jessica, a cute comment from Megan, lying in bed in the evening and watching DVD boxsets on the iPad etc … etc … etc
I’ve just been scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed and noticed a post from my superhero and favourite author Elizabeth Gilbert. She has a Happiness Jar. Every evening, she writes down her happiest moment of the day and places it in her jar as a record of good times.
What a great idea. So, in 2015, the Surycz Family will be formalising Marble Moments in the form of a Happiness Jar. It is the 1 Jan tomorrow and I haven’t organised a fancy, VERY VERY LARGE Happiness Jar so I improvised with a temporary Happiness Tupperware.
Every day we will write down and recall a happy moment. I want this to become a family ritual. Our minds are so wild and stubborn and tend towards the negative so I am going to discipline mine to think positively every single day.
You should do it too! Go on!
Here is Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook post on the Happiness Jar if you want more info:
Dear Ones –
Here it is the end of the year, and I thought it might be a good time to re-introduce to you all the concept of a Happiness Jar.
Here’s me with mine!
What is a Happiness Jar? The simplest thing in the world. You get yourself a jar (or a box, or a vessel of any kind) and every day, at the end of the day, you grab a slip of paper and write down on it the happiest moment of the day.
Even on lousy days, you do this. Because even on lousy days, there is one best moment (or at least, one least-worst moment.)
You stick that little piece of paper in the jar.
Over the years, you have a record of your happiness.
On bad days, I will thrust my fist in that jar and go fishing — pulling up a handful of great moments that I would have utterly forgotten, had I not documented them.
I’ve been doing this practice for years, and I love it.
If my house ever caught on fire, this would be the one material object I would grab before I ran out the door…because what’s inside this jar? THAT’S WHERE IT’S AT — the whole point of this life.
Over the years, my Happiness Jar has taught me much. What continually amazes me is what ends up on the slip of paper every day. Not awesome events, not huge achievements — usually just a small and tiny thing, a moment of awareness…that moment when you step outside and between the house and the car you get hit on the top of the head with a beam of sunlight, and suddenly feel awash with gratitude simply for being alive, and you think, “Yes. This is it.”
It’s usually something that small — and something that grand.
I know that many of you have started this practice, too — and I love seeing the pictures of your jars, and hearing how you have adapted this to your own lives. I love the woman who put one in the middle of her dining room table, and she and her kids each put an entry in there every day — what a cool family practice! And I love the woman who wrote to me last week saying that she had the hardest year of her life, but she kept her Happiness Jar practice going the whole time, and today — on the last day of the year, she’s going to pull out each piece of paper in the jar, to remind her that even now, even in hard times, there was always one good moment a day.
So if anyone wants to begin this practice tomorrow, a New Year is always a great place to start!
Sending love, and, of course, wishing you all an abundance of Happy Moments in 2015!