We’re celebrating 10 days of Thanksgiving: for 10 days, I’m sharing journaling prompts for reflections in gratitude. These prompts can be used to add thoughts to your journal, or get out and use your camera (or camera phone) to capture, or sketch or draw, or even simply spend some quiet time with a cuppa just meditating. My hope is that by the end of this time, we’ll all have created a body of work which reflects the bounty that we’ve discovered we have in our lives. Are you with me?
Awesome. Let’s go.
A couple of nights ago, my daughter had her belt test in karate — she was testing for her third degree brown belt. This was kind of a big deal, so instead of going with her and her father to the test, I feigned work; but instead of working while they were gone, I decided to get a cupcake from her favourite restaurant, and decorations for her bedroom to surprise her when she returned. Since I’m kind of an ogre when coming to sweets, I knew that she would be really surprised.
Getting the cupcake was easy; but by the time I headed to our neighbourhood grocery store, the floral department appeared closed. I wandered over to the bakery section, where I found a young woman in a store uniform sitting at a table using her laptop.
“Hi,” I said. “Do you work here?”
She smiled. “Yes — can I help you?”
“Well,” I answered, “I was hoping to get some flowers and a balloon for my daughter to celebrate her karate belt test, but the floral department looks closed. Is it too late?”
She looked over. “I’m afraid it is,” she said, and then smiled. “But I bet I can blow up a balloon. I need something to do anyway. Let’s go see what we can do.”
And then, even though she was a bakery employee, she left her laptop, helped me choose the perfect balloon, and figured out how to work the helium machine to blow it up for me. Then, because she couldn’t open the floral department cash registered, she helped me gather up all my shopping, and walked me over to one of the main registers and helped me check out.
“Wow, this is really nice of you,” I said. “You didn’t have to do that.”
“It wasn’t any problem at all,” she smiled. “It’s my job to help.”
I was so moved by her willingness to go out of her way to help me out, and it got me thinking: isn’t it always so lovely when people are nice just because? There have been times when someone has done something nice for me — bought me a cup of tea because they thought I would like it say, or even just opened the door for me — that I still remember with fondness. And honestly, there have been times that I’ve done something for someone for no reason than I could, and it made me feel so great that I was able to help in some way. That’s the cool thing about random acts of kindness: they’re often as awesome for the person doing the nice thing as it is for the person on the receiving end.
Day 4 prompt: Today, take some time to reflect on random acts of kindness that you’ve experienced — when someone did something nice for you, just because they could. For bonus points: do something nice for someone, just because. You could:
10. Coffee, coffee, coffee. When you get up to make yourself a cuppa, make one for a coworker, partner, friend. Or pay for the coffee of the person behind you at Starbucks (or coffeehouse of choice). Easy-peasy.
9. Send an unexpected note. Open up your email right now, and type the following:
You’re in my thoughts. I hope you’re well.
Then simply sign your first name. In the “To” line, put the email address of the first person who comes to mind. Click “Send.”
8. Start a Hope Revolution. Take the nearest scrap of paper or PostIt Note, and write something kind on it. Then leave it somewhere unexpected — under a windshield wiper, in a public bathroom, under a stack of bank deposit slips. Get inspired by Krystyn’s gallery.
7. Buy flowers. On your next grocery run, grab a bunch of inexpensive flowers (carnations are usually cheap, and they’ll totally do the trick). Spontaneously give them to someone — the guy at check-out, the receptionist at work, leave them anonymously at your neighbour’s front door. Make their day.
6. Rush to open the door for someone. Just because.
5. Talk to the manager. When you receive good service, ask to speak to the manager, and let her know about your awesome experience. (I actually did this for Lauren, the bakery employee who helped me with my daughter’s flowers and balloon.) You’ll make the person’s day (and the manager’s too — imagine how many complaints they probably deal with!).
4. Let someone go ahead of you in line. Just because.
3. Pay someone younger than you a compliment. Watch them glow.
2. Call your mom. Or dad. Or someone who’s just like a mother or father to you. They’ll love it.
1. Smile. Look directly into someone’s eyes, and just smile. Extra points if it’s a total stranger.
And then enjoy how being kind makes you feel.
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Did you enjoy these thankfulness prompts? Don’t miss the previous ones:
Day 1: Home
Day 2: Your superpowers
Day 3: Cooler weather
And don’t forget to come back tomorrow for our Day 5 prompt!
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