January 2, 2014

Recipe for a Beautiful Year. ~ Bronwyn Petry


  • 1 litre-sized mason jar
  • 3-5 pads of scrap paper
  • 5-10 pens
  • gratitude to taste


In January, start with a clean jar. The first time you smile, find a pen and piece of paper as quickly as possible. Write down the reason you’re happy, make it as specific as possible: the pop of the pomegranate seeds in your teeth, a winter picnic, the surprise camping trip.

Each time something good happens, write it down. Rip up the paper in exact squares, fold it with the press of your finger nail, drop it inside the jar. Wonder if you will remember what you wrote down when it’s time to read it again.

By August, you are pushing down on the papers to make room for more. The jar sits on the shelf in the kitchen so that it is easily reached and easily seen. The orange scraps glimmer against the glass like hungry goldfish.

When it becomes the last day of the year, light some candles, smudge some sage, eat lobster, or whatever it is you do to mark a special occasion. Wear your nice clothes. Put scents in your hair. Wipe your hands quickly on a hand towel but pull all the blessings out of the jar with greasy fingers: they have been marinating long enough.

Read backwards. What happened in April happens again now. You taste watermelon, the ache of first snow, fresh sheets, a plane taking off down the runway, a birthday card. It all happens again.

Echoes of smiles wash back on the shores of your lips, and all of a sudden you are everywhere and here, all at once.

Keep them or burn them—decide in the moment. Whether you want to be able to savor these memories in the future or send them out into the universe is up to you and how you feel. Feel the goodness of the past year creep into your bones and heart.

Repeat as necessary.

Relephant Reads:

10 Inspirational Quotes to Consider this New Year.

How to Keep a New Year’s Resolution in 5 Steps.


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Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Courtesy of Author

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Gabrielle Jan 3, 2016 9:40pm

I love this! I started it last year, but wasn’t as into it as I am right now. Your writing is inspiring and I’m feeling a whole different vibe towards this gratitude practice. Thanks for spreading your enthusiasm.

Jo-Beth Feb 19, 2014 10:09am

I am doing this! With one change. I am writing down every time I appreciate my partner for what he does for me, says to me or just every time I’m reminded how great he really is. What a way to not take a loved one for granted.

Tiffany Jan 3, 2014 3:01pm

I liked the picture you used. Dugout and all! 🙂

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Bronwyn Petry

Bronwyn Petry wrote her first short story when she was six, and hasn’t really looked back since. Writing is the only thing she was ever any good at. Bronwyn is also a yoga student who likes to run, a roller skating enthusiast, an amateur photographer and an inveterate people watcher. Her work has previously appeared in Soliloquies, The Grist Mill, Roots of She, The Body Stories, and a variety of other places. Her hobbies include crossword puzzles and long walks with her dog. She loves her friends, has 17 different laughs and she travels in her spare time to soak up the stories of the world. She lives in Toronto (for the time being) with her partner and their animals. Please feel free to find her on Twitter, Facebook or on Instagram, if you’re into those sorts of things.