The Ben Franklin Plan: Tally your Miracles

29Nov09
Portrait of Benjamin Franklin
Image via Wikipedia

In honor of Ben Franklin who focused on one virtue a month each year (plus humility, which he worked on all year round on the advice of a detractor),  I’m working on one  life principle each week from Sunday to Saturday.  Will you join me?

This month we’ve been focusing on counting pennies, which is definitely rewarding.  But there is another currency we should be counting.  And it is even more rewarding.

Counting miracles is a way to demonstrate, first of all, that we expect them.  You don’t set about to count something that you         don’t ever expect to encounter.  But also, it’s a way to look back on a day and focus on the good parts of it.

So this week’s life principle is to keep a journal by your bed or under your pillow.  Right before you nod off, list the date and the day’s miracles.  Here’s where you will experience another reward of miracle counting:  you’ll be going to sleep with the best of the day on your mind – a recipe for sweet dreams.

At the end of the month, or whenever you need a pick-me-up, flip back through the pages.  You will be continually amazed at the number of little moments of joy you experience.  On even the most ordinary day.

Tip:  Ask the kids for a moleskin journal.  The big bookstores all have them.  They are soft little books worthy of keeping your miracles.  Each year start a new book.  Save your books in a place where you keep treasured family souvenirs.  Your children, whose names will surely be part of their contents, will cherish them long after you are gone.

What’s a miracle?  We probably won’t be doing much counting if we limit our miracles to those happenings that involve claps of thunder, bolts of lightning, and common objects transforming into nuggets of gold.  But, if you are an adult who drives and has a tendency to leave a few minutes later than you should, and you score a parking place just outside the building in which you have an appointment that took six weeks to book, you know right off the bat.  That is a miracle.

Some of my favorite miracles – that occur just enough times to maintain their miracle status, after all if they happened all the time, they would not be miracles, would they? – include:

  • Finally remembering a person’s name right at the second you are forced to use it for the first time at a party
  • The dog being able to “hold it” even though I’m home an hour late
  • Finding a little piece of pumpkin pie in the frig after all the kids are packed and gone
  • The test that came back negative

Sold the unused treadmill in a week?  Finally cleaned out the hall closet?  Your teen offered to do the dishes?  Smiled when you wanted to strangle?  Miracles, all!

But, who’s keeping track?  That would be you.

Week 8:  Tally your miracles

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