Over the years, I have intermittently discussed the benefit of focused appreciation. My discipline has ebbed and flowed. With intention, I stepped back into it.
I think it was 2018, when one friend of mine approached me with a proposition. She asked if I would be willing to partner with her. Each day, we would text each other 3 things we appreciated from the day before. We did this for maybe two months. Now I had been doing that for myself within my daily journaling, but through the partnership, we kicked up the discipline a notch. And the more we did it, the better it felt.
About a month ago, I extended that same proposition to another friend. I explained the game and off we went. Maybe a week later, I was hanging out with two other friends. I explained the game to them, and suggested that they partner together. In fact, it was one of them that coined the name I am now using.
Even when doing it every day, at times it can feel like a chore. Since I know the point of the game is to feel it while you are doing it, I hesitated this morning. I just didn’t feel it at first. I could easily come up with three things, but I knew if I just wrote it up that way, it would be flat.
So I sat down and wrote in my journal about whatever. Through that mulling, I quickly happened upon a particular subject that I do in fact have strong appreciation for. Once I got there, the feeling of appreciation washed over me and I quickly jumped over to my notepad and wrote my 3 appreciations and sent them.
This game creates magic; I kid you not.
Sunday morning, I was in the country. It was a cool and sunny morning. I was in a cleaning mood. I opened the door to the cabin, letting the sunshine in, and started doing some dusting. It occurred to me to turn on the radio. My friends, who own the cabin, have an old style analog radio in there. I switched it on and found them playing a recording of American Top Forty from 1985!
Hearing Casey Kasem’s voice took me back—and so did the music. I could have cleaned every square inch of that cabin, listening to the recording. It was so much fun!
On the ride home that afternoon, I set my Pandora to my Foreigner station, and continued to listen to music primarily from the 80s…whatever came on. It was a gorgeous spring day.
In the middle of 1985, I turned 17. That was 36 years ago. [Being a power of 12, Jupiter is now in the same sign it was then.]
I thought about how simple life was in the 80s. It, of course, didn’t feel simple while I was living it, but looking back, that decade was far less complex than this one is. But then it occurred to me that my life is quite simple now. I get to have the simplicity of the 80s and the technology of the present (including the ability to play music from any era).
Here’s another example: in 2019, I bought a newer version of my 2005 pickup. It is the same make and model, but the 2017 version. Maybe because it is so similar, I didn’t feel like I was driving a brand new truck. Of course, it wasn’t brand new, since it was 2 years old at that time. Regardless, it just became my comfortable truck very quickly.
And yet, whenever I am driving to and from the country, a 60-minute ride, I have time to really think about how much I like this truck and all of the updates. It just feels so good. It is a perfect fit. Thus, on that ride home, my appreciation included all of that regarding my truck.
And the list went on. I thought about how much I appreciate my dual life: mostly in the city, and occasionally in the country.
The way I am writing this, it sounds like all of the appreciation was about these things I am telling you, but in reality, it was more the opposite. My daily focus on appreciation has been expanding my reach. The nostalgia inspired it to flow in. After I got there, in my mind flashed reasons to feel that way.
Through the Appreciation Game, we use thoughts and experiences to move ourselves toward appreciation. What we are doing is tuning ourself to that vibration. We essentially carve out a path between our normal set-point and the higher one, thus making it easier and easier to trek.
When the magic starts, it is first felt as spontaneous experiences of strong appreciation.
Mondays are a big chore day at my house. Vacuuming was on the list. Since I still had 1985 on my mind, I checked to see if Pandora had year-specific stations, and it does! I turned on the Hits from 1985 and started hearing songs I haven’t heard in years. Once again, I was so excitedly enjoying the music and the movement, chores were no longer chores, but rather dancing!
Given the past 15 months and what life is like currently, there is still, let’s just say, disquiet. I can and do fall back into those unsettling feelings. And that’s OK. I am not specifically concerned about anything right now. I can get worked up over this subject or that one, but I do minimize that as much as I can.
Now my highs are getting higher again…and more frequent!
I encourage all of you to give it a try. Find a partner (or three) and commit to, say, 30 days. It is totally fine to skip a day here and there if you really can’t get there now and again. Or maybe just write things down without feeling them during those times. But after a while, you will find yourself looking forward to sharing moments you appreciate with your friend(s).
The one I am partnered with right now, has taken on a number of others. It’s not any more work for her. She simply shares the list she sends to me with the others.
It’s supposed to be fun, so if it doesn’t work for you, that’s OK too. But if you can do it for a month, that’s when things really begin to change!
Today is the first full day, so Happy Taurus everyone!