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Doing our Best to Feel Grateful

December 2nd, 2021


Hello again, and welcome to my second instalment of this newsletter that's coming at you just in time for the seasons to change. I think it’s fair to say that autumn has gone by in the blink of an eye. And it appears that none of the stores missed a beat when it came to putting away Halloween candy and promptly replacing it with tinsel, holiday cards and weird angel statues. Some of those statues have a vacant look on their face that says, “I’m the ghost of your wallet’s past.”

But in all honesty, it does feel nice to be able to celebrate again this year. I remember being in pharmacies at this time last year (one of the few places we could go) and seeing that they were unsure which holiday to decorate for, because well, it didn’t really matter. So, I’m not taking any of this for granted. And this brings me to the theme of this newsletter: gratitude.


Now, before you roll your eyes, I’m not talking about the cringe-worthy social media posts that tell us to Live, Laugh and Love. I’m also not talking about a quick solution to all your life’s problems with a fit tummy tea brand (I just happen to be selling) that helps you lose weight while appreciating the fruits of life with fruit flavoured teas. There are no pyramid schemes here, just acknowledgments. I’m referring to genuine moments that we can stop and notice because we now know what it feels like to have those moments taken away.

In the last newsletter I shared some ideas on how to approach our days mindfully. This time around, my hope is to share a few tips on how to practice gratitude in a way that feels genuine. We can do this is by taking a few minutes at the beginning of the day to quietly thank the people animals, and nature around us that bring us joy. This can be family, friends, partners, pets, acquaintances, strangers and plants that make us smile.

You can take five minutes at the beginning of your day to quietly admire these positive influences in your life. Sometimes I like to sit and think about people I see throughout the day who quietly contribute to it in a positive way. Some examples are the security guard in my building who says hello to me, the friendly receptionist at my chiropractor's office and of course, my cat, Peanut. These three individuals bring me joy and it feels nice to take a few moments to acknowledge them. If you’re like me and you practice mindfulness in the mornings (see my previous newsletter for tips on how to get started) then this short, five-minute exercise can be a nice thing to do before starting your practice.

If mornings are tight for you, another activity I recommend is gratitude journaling. This involves spending a few minutes reflecting on things that you’re grateful for at the end of your day. It can be simple things like the smell of coffee brewing in the morning, a walk you took mid-afternoon or an unexpected call from a friend. Practising gratitude can help you feel better and when you feel better, you tend to attract more positive things in your life.


Do you ever notice on the days when it feels like nothing goes right, it often starts as one event that builds into many? It’s as if you built up some negative momentum throughout the day and things just got worse. And this is true, but this can also happen the other way too. So, why not try building some positive momentum? Carve out five minutes at the beginning or the end of your day to try this out and let me know how it goes. And I'd like to add that I know that this can be challenging at times. There are many things around us that aren’t exactly positive right now. But I've noticed that when I consciously take this time for myself, I move into a better position to be there for those around me who need support. The intention we put out can go a long way when it comes to helping. So, even on the days when I feel anything but grateful, I try my best to pivot and look at some unfavourable situations with a little more compassion. It takes time to master and I'm still working on it, but the end results are worth it.

When it comes to journaling, I recommend setting an intention with that too. I suggest going out and buying a brand-new journal specifically for this exercise. It doesn’t need to be an expensive purchase, but just the act of going out to get the notebook adds some intention to this new routine that you’re creating for yourself. And if you choose to write in your gratitude journal before bed, a bonus benefit might be some sweet dreams. Until next time, I hope you get to laugh (I'm not pairing this with "Live" and "Love," don't worry) over the holidays while staying warm. I also hope that you enjoy some time with friends and family who perhaps you didn’t have a chance to see at this time last year. I know that I’m genuinely feeling grateful for that. Thanks for reading this. I’ll reach out again in a few months. -DJ

Upcoming Live Events:

1. December 15th at 8pm: I’m performing at the Burlington Centre for the Performing Arts

https://burlingtonpac.ca/events/sean-cullen-cocktail-hour-dec/

2. December 19th at 9pm: I’m performing at Comedy Bar in Toronto

https://comedybar.ca/

3. January 21st and 22nd at 8pm: I’m headlining Levity Comedy Club in Hamilton

https://www.levitycomedyclub.com/

4. January 27th-30th (various showtimes): I’m Performing at the Next Stage Fringe Festival in Toronto

https://fringetoronto.com/next-stage/about


Hatha Yoga Classes for Adults and Kids:

I teach adult yoga classes Saturdays at 11am EST on Zoom

(All levels are welcome and this begins again in January 2022!)

Children’s Yoga classes are available with Little Yogis

https://www.littleyogistoronto.com/ (Ages 2-12)

I'm always open to questions, comments and ideas you might have!

Ask anytime here: https://www.denajackson.ca/


**I recommend marking this newsletter as "safe" in your emails, so it doesn't fall into the spam folder.

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