thanks-squared: an instagram practice in gratitude

stop a moment

Last fall I needed a creative attitude adjustment and was inspired by the square photos on my friends’ Instagram feeds — suddenly everyday things seemed interesting, even beautiful. Sometimes being thankful is easy; and sometimes not so much. Often what I see causes me to be thankful, but I don’t always take the moment to actually acknowledge my gratefulness, instead hoping that my fleeting flicker of “ah!” was enough.

So, last year in late October, I had the idea to take the month of November to be more present to those moments. And on the days where no such moment arose of its own accord — to seek out something to be thankful for before the day was done. The practice blew me away. Other people’s responses & enthusiastic participation blew me away.

I can’t wait to do it all over again this November. Anyone & everyone (that means you!) is welcome to join me in this endeavour.

» See my first #thanks2 journey (Nov 2011) on tumblr.
» See the Pinterest board my friend created for #thanks2 last year;
if you join, you can post there, too!


Here are the guidelines I’m following:

1. Take a picture on your phone with Instagram. [This is a free app, and whether you have an android or an iPhone – it’s yours for the taking!] The point is that it takes square pictures – thus, thanks², aka thanks-squared. But use what you have — it’s all about the simplicity. Seriously.

2. Write one line (poetry, prose) that pairs with your image as a caption.

3. When you post your image, tag it with #thanks2 since that tiny² is hard to come by. I like to also tag mine with the day, e.g. #thanks2 #day01. But that’s just me.

instagram #thanks2 photo example
creative endeavours with friends who even share their soup & scotch with you when it’s cold outside. #thanks2 #day17

3b. Instagram it; and be sure to tag it — #thanks2 — so people can search for all the thanks-squared photos; it’s a beautiful thing to see what everyone else is posting. Same goes with twitter, if you want to go that route.

3c. If you’d also be willing to go the extra step and post it again on the thanks2 Pinterest page, that’d be grand — it’s so encouraging to see everyone’s photos all piled together!!

Note: If you can do it every day — great; if you can’t – no worries. Trust me – this is not a guilt-inducing ‘should’ to ruin your November. This is a place of grace & gratefulness.

This is how one of my favourite poets puts it:

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

#ee cummings

And now, as Jónsi sang: go do!

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