Monday 9th May 2011

by chel

A list of all Common Miracles posts- to join in, please click on the newest post and blog along! To read more about how the project works, please read below…

[postlist 1]

Here’s an invitation for ALL of you (….please read to see what I mean.)

“At first they were just clouds, like any other.
Then they swelled and swirled; then they hung very still;
then they broke open. This is, I suppose
just one of the common miracles,
a transformation, not a vision,
not an answer, not a proof, but I put it
there, close against my heart, where the need is, and it serves
the purpose.”

- Mary Oliver, Clouds

(I tried to make this as brief as possible, but I am clearly a long-winded kind of girl…)

Lately I have been doing research on well-being, human happiness, and even a little bit of neuropsychology.

And the one piece of advice I have found *across the board*, shared by everyone from religious experts to philosophers to psychologists to historians to self-help gurus is this:
FEEL GRATITUDE

Now, I have to admit- “Gratitude” and I have a rocky relationship. As a child, I had a few close family members who forced the idea of “appreciate EVERYTHING” on me like a jackhammer smashing into concrete. I didn’t like that. The truth was, some days were just NOT all that great. Some moments were not happy. When I turned into an adult, I abandoned gratitude. I just wanted to experience life as it was- good and bad. Happy and sad.

But now I’m back at Gratitude’s door, and I’m peeking inside.

I’ve come to realize that gratitude is not always a BIG GIANT FEELING (at least for me). Sometimes it’s a big swelling of the heart, but most of the time it’s a small feeling of well-being, contentment, even relief. It’s a sense that things are okay.

So I’m trying to cultivate a sense of gratitude for the small, simple things that make my life a little more livable. The neuroscientific research I’ve been reading keeps saying the same thing: by recognizing and acknowledging little triggers of “well-being” in our lives, we leave a little note in our brains that says: “this is pretty good, and maybe if we could find more of this or something *similar* to this, it might be a little better…”  As time goes on, and we do more and more of this recognition of the *good* things, our brains create a “happiness map” which we can refer back to often.  (At least, this is what the experts say…)

After I read all this, I wanted to try it out. I thought “what about if I post a list every so often to my blog?” That way I would sort of feel a little more accountable about it.

Rejoicing in ordinary things is not sentimental or trite. It actually takes guts. Each time we drop our complaints and allow everyday good fortune to inspire us, we enter the warrior’s world.”
-Pema Chodron

One thing I promised myself, though, was that I’m NOT going to sit and scan my brain and heart for these “happiness triggers” . No straining or stretching, no forcing myself to feel something I don’t. It either registers or it doesn’t. I just want to figure out which little moments, things, people, experiences, etc.  make my days a little more “okay”….

And then I thought – what might happen if a few of us did this? I want to know: What small, simple things brought you comfort today? What made you feel a little more okay? Is it one thing, or ten things, or two HUGE thing or five tiny things? So, I’m inviting you to join in. Would you be willing to share your own list on your blog? Maybe once a week or once a month or whatever you like?

Once a week (on Mondays) I’ll post a fresh Mr. Linky thing-a-ma-bob (if i can get that figured out) and you can link your blog/website from here to let people know you’re making your own lists.

My only request is that you link back to this entry so that people can learn more about this project and make their own lists. The URL is:

<a href=”http://miracles.gingerblue.com”>The Common Miracles Project</a>

And, here are some images you can take. I’d prefer if you save the image(s) and host them on your own website, but if you don’t know what the heck I am talking about, you can steal the little code I posted under the images.

<a href=”http://miracles.gingerblue.com”><img title=”common_miracles” src=”http://www.gingerblue.com/cmiracles.jpg” width=”365″ height=”266″  border=”0″/></a>

 

<a href=”http://miracles.gingerblue.com”><img title=”common_miracles” src=”http://www.gingerblue.com/cmbanner.jpg” width=”150″ height=”117″  border=”0″/></a>

Thank you for reading this long-winded post. If you didn’t, here’s a quick summary:
– post a “Common Miracles” list as often as you like on your own blog
– come back to gingerblue.com every Monday for a new community post and share your link with us so we know you are playing along
– if you are a *really* nice person and have free time, maybe you can visit other participants’ blogs and cheer them on <3

That’s it :)

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...comments...

  1. Tracy says:

    Sooo many good things here today, Chel! I used not to like sweet potatoes as a child, but love them now as an adult. Try them mashed with butter and a little cinnamon…mmm… I fell for Downton Abbey too…I think we all have more or less…LOL! We just watched the 3rd series end of 2012. I won’t say anything… don’t want to spoil you’re viewing. ;o) A happy surprise for me has been taking up crochet. It was a craft I struggled with, and often put down in frustration. But not I’ve got the hang of it, I think all the time about new projects… before I’ver hardly finished the one in progress! Happy Days, my friend ((HUGS))

  2. Sarah says:

    I really like this blog! Thanks for your good thoughts, Chel.

  3. Candace says:

    Oh, and I love Mary Oliver, too. In fact, she is one of the things I am grateful for on my list and I quote her fairly often on my blog. She says the most beautiful things that get to the heart of it all.

  4. Summer says:

    A great idea:) I see this sort of thing a lot on FB, but I think that posting it on my blog will give me an easier archive for the not-so-grateful days;)

  5. […] the Common Miracles project was born. Quite simply, it’s a group of people who blog their gratitude lists. A few people […]

  6. […] ahead and check out The Common Miracles Project to participate yourself! You’ll find other postings at Chel’s […]

  7. Jackie says:

    I posted my first Common Miracles Project post to my blog. I think I’m on the right track but if I’m missing something, please let me know. I think I need to leave a link back to this website on my blog so I’ll try that now.

  8. […] saw this Common Miracles bloggy thing over on Sherilee’s blog; Chel at Ginger Blue sponsors The Common Miracles Project and I thought I’d participate. Chel says: “I want […]

  9. Shirley Ann says:

    There is seldom a day goes by that I don’t believe I have seen a small miracle. I believe that those small nudges help me, save me or just make me more awake to see. So lovely to see others who believe in common miracles.

  10. […] Want to learn more? Check out the details on Chel’s blog about The Common Miracles Project. […]

  11. […] Common Miracles is a project I started in May, 2011 to chronicle all the little (and big!) things that happen during regular days that bring us a sense of well-being. It’s an effort to recognize the small things that make life more worth living. For the whole story, please visit the very first post about this project, located here. […]

  12. Sherwin says:

    Great idea. Love it. Got this link off my daughter Sher’s blog. She is a fearless gratefulness fan. We have everything to gain and nothing to lose by sharing the good things in our lives. Wishing you all the success in the world.

  13. gemma says:

    This looks like something I will enjoy doing.
    Will post on Monday’s.

  14. patti says:

    Hi! I arrived here via Lani Gerity Glanville’s blog – I’m in a couple of groups with her. Thank you so much for such a wonderful post and idea. I’m having a bit of difficulty inserting the graphic on my blog – trying to add it as “configure html/java” but I’ll keep trying. I’m going to spend more time on your blog, which I find totally amazing, but wanted to let you know that I do want to participate in this project and that I appreciate your efforts!

  15. Jackie says:

    Love this idea! I have a blog that has been sitting there in cyberspace collecting cobwebs. This is a good way for me to get back to posting in it. Years ago, I kept a journal of small miracles to acknowledge the signs in my life that made my life so sweet. Funny thing is, I don’t need to refer back to the journal because I have it all memorized without trying, proof that my brain made a miracle map!
    Thanks for putting this together and I would love to join in.

  16. sherilee says:

    I am so in.

    I meant to reply to your query about playing along with Friday Night Grateful Moment, and the short answer is that I have been meaning to do a Mr. Linky thing for MONTHS, but haven’t gotten it together to do so. I realize, pathetically, that it’s probably because I’m scared no one will play along. What a wimp. So I need to get off my butt and step over my fears and into the possibility that it could be pretty cool.

    But a Common Miracle post is totally doable in addition to the Grateful Moment… the more I can put my brain toward these thoughts, the better. Thanks for taking the leap.

  17. linda says:

    I think it’s a fabulous idea and I think many bloggers do post about gratitude… lists or whatever little thing in their lives on a regular basis. Very cool and I would love to join in. I was actually thinking about doing Monday posts about Italy and how lovely country living is for me…even though sometimes I forget and get lost in my own world. So this would be nice motivation. It’s always nice to do things together.

    BTW, I know what you mean about the being hammered to appreciate everything. Sometimes it’s like a shaming method … “you should be grateful for what you have…” I don’t like that idea either! I think it’s more about reminding ourselves of the happy things in life, good things, cool things… positive things really. Because for some reason, negative stuff seems to be more in our memories …or seemingly more strong – we are all so critical, right?! So we have to celebrate the goodness instead… if I’m making any sense anymore…I’m rambling now :)

    Thanks for posting about this and will follow!

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hello!
I'm Chel (pronounced "shell", short for "Michele").

I'm a painter, writer, gardener, art historian, long-distance swimmer, crochet addict, movie watcher, animal lover, and avid reader.

Random facts: I grew up in New York (Long Island, to be specific), went to college and grad school in Atlanta, and now I live in Southwest Florida. I'm incredibly shy but I can be very chatty. I've been a vegetarian for 25 years. I swim five miles every day. I have an eight year old daughter and a 40-something year old husband. I'd rather eat kalamata olives than most anything, and I'm an AVID tea drinker. I exist with the steady background noise of meows (three cats), chirps and whistles (three parrots), and silence (an elderly gecko).

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