When we were younger, my husband and I would get in bed at night and spend a few minutes talking about our day. Over 45 years this custom has helped us remain connected even as it has evolved.
Over time our nightly review had slowly turned into noting all the problems we had to deal with. And when that got to be a bit depressing for night time talk we just dropped out the whole review altogether.
But when we noticed we were missing that connection we started up again with a new form – appreciations – and we loved it.
At first it was a little forced but now it has grown and evolved into a robust and nurturing tradition.
We started by talking about at least three things we appreciate about the day. Sometimes we would have to reach a bit to find three things but mostly many more than three things just come flowing one after the other.
Over the years, we have added and taken away many different categories of appreciation. At various times we have ventured into the realms of:
- What we appreciate about ourselves
- What we appreciate about each other
- What we appreciate about our health
- What we appreciate about our wealth/ prosperity
- What we appreciate about ourselves as the creator of our own life
We have gone through times when we would add a thing or two that we appreciate about our dogs. (Yes, we are dog people.)
We end our Appreciations with our intentions for the night and our intentions for what we want to create for tomorrow.
I Don’t Have Time For That
You might be looking at this idea and get tired just thinking about doing it.
Maybe it seems overwhelming to you – “I can’t think of that many things to appreciate” or “I don’t have that much time I have to get to sleep sometime tonight”.
But – maybe you’re just getting stuck in your old ways.
Really, it only takes about 5 minutes. It is relaxing and fun to do. Plus, it is supportive, nurturing, and soothing, builds a great connective relationship, and certainly helps you sleep better than thinking about all that went wrong that day or all you have to do tomorrow.
You Can Always Find Something to Appreciate
It happened many years ago now – but I still remember the day that my son’s dog (our grand dog) Kohi got hit by a car. My son and Kohi were living with us then.
We really loved that dog and it was such a touch and go day – would he make it or not?
Just before we were going to bed, my son called from the animal hospital and wanted to talk to me about the Vet’s recommendations. The vet thought we should put Kohi down. Kohi was having a really hard time and didn’t look good at all. According to the vet “dogs who get hit by cars going 55 mph don’t live.” My son and I talked at length about what to do. We cried a lot and in the end he choose to let Kohi have his chance to recover.
When I got in bed after that phone call and my husband started our Appreciation Ritual, I just cried and cried and said I could not find anything in myself to appreciate that day. But he started anyway saying we had a lot to appreciate:
- Ko-Hai was still alive
- Luckily, the person who hit him knew whose dog he was and came right away to tell us he had hit Ko-Hai. If he had not done that Ko-Hai would have certainly died by the side of the road and we might never have known – just another missing dog.
- We could appreciate that we had been able to find Ko-Hai after he had been hit. He had staggered off into the bushes before he fell down.
- We could appreciate that the nearest vet had still been open (it was Saturday) and was able to stabilize Ko-Hai for the hour trip to the Emergency Care Animal Hospital.
Taking the time to appreciate your life changes you in ways you won’t understand until appreciation becomes part of your life.
I can tell you all the incredibly wonderful things appreciation does for your biochemistry – real chemical and physical changes.
- How appreciation helps reduce your experience of stress.
- How it makes you more creative and intuitive.
- How your relationships are better when you practice appreciation.
And these are all good reasons to make appreciation a formal part of your life.
But the biggest gain you get from setting aside time every day – no matter what – to review and savor what you appreciate in your life is that it helps you to live this wonderful life full-out.
Right now – this very moment – pick 3 things you appreciate about today. And now design your own Appreciation Ritual.
P.S. Kohi fully recovered and lived for many more years as sweet and loving as ever.
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