Every night, the last thing I do on a media device of any kind (okay, usually the last thing… I’m as addicted to screens as the next person), is post a fourteen second Instagram Story expressing both gratitude for a single thing, and a single hope for the next day.

Sometimes it’s hard to come up with things that inspire gratitude and hope. But I find those two things, however seemingly trivial they sometimes feel, and I put them out to the world, where they remain for twenty four hours.

It’s a ritual.

Ten to fifteen people watch those videos every day. Often the same folks… and often some of them, whether they know it or not, are the very people inspiring my gratitude or hope.

That’s nice. It’s a tiny tribe, and I see them, and I marvel that some of them, for whatever reason, are there every day.

Climb Out, Fill In

As much as I appreciate that tiny tribe, the real purpose behind those videos is for me to be actively grateful and hopeful. To fill in neurological trenches of negativity with Zen-garden paths of positivity.

When you’re in the trenches… entrenched… and look left and right and ahead and behind, all you’ll see is trench.

When you’re on a path, the world is available, all around, to be experienced and savored, and it’s easier to explore and wander and blaze new trails.

So I do this ritual. And it’s working in my life.

I’m perceiving opportunities that I would have missed back when all I could see was proverbial dirt walls. I’m taking chances, and being bold (#declareforbold), and giving voice to my heart.

It’s Sciencey

It’s working, not because of any kind of paranatural mysticism (although there’s nothing wrong with choosing to live poetically; to seek out and embrace metaphor in the everyday), but because I’m literally changing the way my brain works. It’s sciencey, for reals.

Thanks to the resulting net gain of positivity in my thoughts and mood, I’m measurably more creative, more often.

I’m writing songs. I’m in the fiction or non-fiction or blog post writing chair most every day, instead of once a week or every couple of weeks. I’m thinking more like an active artist, and therefore, behaving more like one.

Three Simple Steps; One Cumulative Result

Many things in our lives are are imperfect and stressful. It can be so hard to find the mindset we think we need to be creative, and challenging to allow ourselves to actually sit down and Do the Thing.

But this one thing done every night — embracing and deliberately expressing gratitude (thankfulness for what’s in your life) and hope (optimism for what you want in your life), and doing so in some kind of public space (declaring your gratitude and hope) —  can make it possible for happiness to flow around and gradually erode the muddy trench walls of imperfection and stress that crowd your mental landscape.

  1. Be grateful.
  2. Dare to be hopeful.
  3. Tell people about it…

…and see what happens.

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