When this year began, I heard somewhere about this idea to create a Pure Goodness Jar. The Jar would be a place to jot down things made of “pure goodness.” At the end of the year, on New Year’s Eve, the idea was to go through the Jar and read all the strips inside.
I decided to make my own time capsule of joy for 2016. I found a jar, wrote Pure Goodness 2016 on the side, and cut up strips of paper so I could easily jot and drop as needed. I decided to do different months in different colors just for fun. (Hope I can find 12 colors of sticky notes!) I figured I’d be including all my massages, trips to spas, vacations, surprises, and that sort of thing.
The first paper in my jar was “the pure goodness jar idea.” Here’s why. Almost immediately, I noticed my mind focusing on all the good things in my life that could go in the jar. As I focused on those things, more and more came in. What I appreciated, appreciated. I started to pretend everybody had PGJs and thought about all the strips they could add to theirs as well. My perspective shifted from lack to abundance not just for myself, but for those around me.
I started to realize it was not just the things I first expected that I’d stop to drop in the jar. Pure goodness started to come in many different forms. Sometimes the little things, like watching the world open with blossoms and buds everywhere as the bees slowly make their way back to the lavender is pure goodness. Sometimes watching our puppy knee deep in his digging hole just spewing dirt everywhere is pure goodness. Often, sitting in the hot tub and reading Principles of Healing is pure goodness.
And it wasn’t always good things, like date nights and time with family and friends that found their way in the jar. Sometimes it was sharing in grief together over a loss. Sometimes it was understanding the bigger picture behind a car wreck. Often, it was noticing how we are all connected. Synchronicities.
Last week, I watched a Ted Talk that described a longitudinal study on happiness that had gone on for over 75 years. The study had moved through 4 directors (they died and needed replacing), but had stayed with some of the original 740 men from the 1930 study. Half the sample was taken from the poorest tenements in Boston and the other half Harvard sophomores. At one point, wives were brought into the study. The study determined that the largest predictor of happiness was not fame, fortune, career, self-knowing, success, travel–all the things the boys predicted at their young age would make them happy. The thing that made them happy, truly happy at a deep level, over the course of time was the quality of their relationships with other people. (The Ted Talk went in the jar.)
This seems so obvious to me. We are all connected and meant to interact and support each other. We are meant to share ups and downs, successes and failures–all which become pure goodness when we understand the beauty of sharing connection.
This came into close focus last Saturday. We spent the night at the Woodland Hills Marriott in Woodland Hills, California. After swimming in the pool, I sat in the hot tub and began talking to a woman and her son who had been living in the hotel for 4 months along with the whole community of Porter Ranch. There had been a gas leak causing a mandatory evacuation and hundreds of families were put up at this hotel for free.
I wondered if that was pure goodness. I happen to love my neighbors where I live now, but there were neighborhoods in LA that we lived where seeing our neighbors for every meal would not seem like anything remotely close to good. But often in LA, beautiful neighborhoods are only occupied by the people who live in them at night because during the day the people are off running on the hamster wheel to support their lifestyles. Kids are kept so busy they leave when it’s dark and return when it’s dark. They don’t meet the other kids because their busy schedules and college-ready preparation which starts at birth take precedence over street play.
The hot tub lady told me if I’d been there the day before, the pool would have been too full to swim. All the kids gathered there to play. On Sunday at breakfast, I watched families gather and greet each other talking about checking out and returning home. I wondered if when they went back home they may be more eager to connect, to wave on the street as they entered and left their homes. Some may have met for the first time in this forced retreat. Sharing this experience had brought them into relationship. Maybe those relationships, starting as an intervention to a disaster, may be pure goodness for the children and families from here on out.
And that, my friends, is the spell cast by the pure goodness jar. I’ll let you know if I need a bigger jar at the end of the year.