One of my part-time jobs is located in a building that houses several different non-profit and county agencies. My position is one of those desky-type jobs that is computer dominated, so I set a timer to go off on the hour. When the timer dings, I take a short break from my office and go on a walkabout from one end of the building to the other, circle out and around the block, and re-enter the building with renewed focus and fresh energy to make a difference and change the world, one keystroke at a time.
These regular walks up and down the hallways have led to me meeting many people who work in the building on the county side of things. I work for the non-profit at one end of the building while the others are employed by the county with their various important community-oriented jobs.
I try not to peek into the various office doors as I make my loop, but it is hard to not to notice who has plants in their windows, who has a messy office, who has a line of dirty coffee cups by their computer, who has a mini-trampoline or a comfy futon squeezed into their small personal spaces. I enjoy spotting the different nuances that make each office unique and representative of its office dweller.
As I walk by, most people are very friendly and welcome the break from their computers. They shout out, “Hello, Kennedy!” or they simply wave or sometimes even invite me in for a chat. I learn a lot about their positions, their families, and what makes them happy about their work. One woman, the person with the mini-trampoline, always invites me in for a bounce. I always appreciate her generosity and, if you don’t have a mini-trampoline in your office, I highly recommend that you consider adding one. It really makes one very happy to just jump up and down.
Outside this same office, my office friend has a piece of drawing paper taped to the wall by her office door. On the paper she has drawn with a brown Sharpie an outline of a tree with bare branches radiating from its swirly trunk with the question, “WHAT ARE YOU GRATEFUL FOR? handwritten above the bare-branched tree. On a chair beneath the tree picture, she has an assortment of little cut out fall-colored leaves, some glue sticks, and some Sharpies for people to stop, write, and glue their little happy leaf of gratitude onto the tree.
Well, during the first few weeks of being taped up, the tree had a decided post-fall appearance to it . . . meaning that not a lot of people were stopping to glue their respective leaves of gratitude to the tree. But then it really started to bloom with gratitude.
What with my regular hourly walks, I have had to discipline myself to not dominate the tree with my little leaves of gratitude. I temper myself and only affix one or two leaves a week. While I might not glue a little leaf to the tree on every single walk, I still carry with me the wonder and thought of gratitude on my hourly rounds. It makes me happy to ponder the joys of gratitude.
The times when I do stop to add a new leaf, I write all sorts of things. I write things about my family, my health, my bounty of blessings, the weather, the food I eat, my morning coffee, the ability to create and to grow. It makes me so happy to take part in this lovely exercise that invites others to share and to collaborate on the joys of life. Every day when I paused to glue another leaf to the tree, I thanked her for being so thoughtful. What a very cool person!
The other day I noticed that my trampoline friend had taken the tree poster down. It was simply FULL of fall leaves that represented the joys of everyone in the building. I absolutely love what she has done by posting this in a public space, and it reminds me of the colorful bulletin boards that I used to help assemble when I was in grade school. I am thinking that it’s time to borrow her lovely idea and carry it forward and start a new poster.
Life is full of the daily items that comprise what we call The Grind. The Grind can so effectively absorb and suck up joy, gratitude, and appreciation into its vacuum of routine and humdrum activities.
I am wondering if you, too, would like to join me in posting a poster of some kind in your office or your break room or your work space or your classroom or your whatever space that invites others to join together in acknowledging all of the great stuff that grows life into a beautiful experience.
If you decide to join in, please, do share with us what you have done. I am thinking that my poster is going to embody laughter as medicine. . . What makes you laugh out loud?
P.S. I do want to express my gratitude to all of you who read my blog. You are the best!