twelve months of bliss

Twelve Months of Bliss – Dec. Recap & Linkup

December 30, 2015

12MofBliss Pay It Fwd Recap

We just keep truckin’ right along, don’t we?! We’re more than halfway through this twelve month challenge (of finding the bliss in our lives!) and I can’t believe it. I’m SO happy to be doing this with you all – thank you to everyone who has joined me each month! **If you are interested in joining me and the rest of this fabulous group of bliss seekers, it’s not too late! January’s challenge will be announced here at Ember Grey on Monday, January 4th!

December’s challenge was titled “Pay Bliss Forward” and can be found here.

While I could sit here and tell you all the ways I found myself paying it forward this month (because there really were some special and sweet moments, my gosh!), I’ve decided not to share them publicly. I think part of what makes “paying it forward” so great is that you don’t have to tell anyone for it to mean something – you don’t have to announce it from the rooftops or get likes on Facebook for it to have been real or to have mattered. Paying it forward isn’t about doing something to in turn get something back or some sort of recognition, it’s about being a decent human being. Well, scratch that – it’s about being a GOOD human being. (Because ‘decent’ is so half-ass, am I right? It’s so mediocre. I’m through with decent.)

Something incredible happens the more you “pay it forward” – when you focus on it every day, it slowly starts to become a part of you and your life (a true lifestyle change!), and I think that’s when real worldly change happens. Call it hippie-dippy but I have always believed that we can change the world if each of us would focus on having a heart of a servant that asks NO questions upon serving vs. a mind of “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.” (There are many words for the latter… entitlement, greed, score keeper, etc. etc. – all of which I believe leads to anxiety and the lie that says we ourselves must control every aspect of our lives, as well as the lives of those around us. Talk about one slippery slope that leads to the division – rather than unity – of mankind.)

One of my favorite commercials this past holiday season was the one where the girl notices that the man who lives across the way from her is alone on Christmas, so she takes the lights she’s put up in her own home and decorates the outside of his. The look on his face when he arrives home to see the lights on his house makes me tear up no matter how many times I’ve seen that commercial! One of the best things about “paying it forward” is that both sides actually do get something out of it – JOY.

Being present and awake and outwardly aware is all we need to have to see the need for kindness around us, and it’s something I believe we need to “train” ourselves to do on a daily basis. Mother Teresa and Princess Diana didn’t just do good things or show kindness to others when it was some sort of holiday month or challenge; they made it a part of their daily lives. They made it their lifestyle to do good things for this world and the people of this world… for complete strangers, yes, but also for their very own neighbors. And that’s one of the greatest things about this whole concept of paying it forward – we don’t have to look far, or even hard, to do nice things for others or to be a good person… it can start even within our own home. We can start today, right now. And we can keep it up, years from now we can still seek out ways to help others and to show kindness to others – yes, even if it inconveniences our plans – and we can still be kind to each other no matter what is going on in our lives. I believe that these are the things that truly matter… these are the things we’ll remember at the end of our lives: human kindness that asks no questions and keeps no score.

I hope this challenge might have encouraged you to think about and ask God how He might help you grow throughout this new year by serving others and to make it a part of your every day!

*Note: While I chose not to share my ‘forwards’ publicly this time, there is also nothing wrong with doing so! Just as I loved watching the Christmas commercial, I love learning about how others have paid it forward and have shared kindness with the world, and I think there is also something really special about being able to make note of all the sweet “pay it forward” moments. Sharing those moments with others also shows that there is still goodness in this world! This post was just my personal reflection and shared thoughts from this month’s challenge. 🙂

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Now it’s your time to share your feedback from this month’s challenge. Link up your thoughts below & don’t forget to check the Twelve Months of Bliss page in a few days for next month’s challenge!

Ember Grey Twelve Months of Bliss

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  • Emily thank you for always hosting and coming up with these wonderful ideas. I did write all my little “forwards” down and the “forwards” I got in return because I needed to make note of them- being when you start to actually pay attention there is alot of good and bliss out there.
    I am learning so much about me every month.

    • I have since gone back to my post to make a note that there is also NOTHING wrong with sharing how you have paid it forward – I feel terrible for the way my post may have come across! Just as I don’t think anyone has to share them, I think it’s also really special to be able to share those things with people, or- as you did – to write them down and remember those special moments. Can’t wait to read your post, Brittany!

      • I didn’t mean it like that and I know you didn’t either 🙂 I don’t or haven’t been keeping a journal of this, just my posts so that’s why I did that. Lol.

  • I believe our minds and thoughts were on the same page this month. I too, decided not to share publicly what I did. Let this be an eye opener for many who read your space and as we share with others blissfully paying it forward may connect them with God, others and themselves in a whole new way come the new year. Thank you for another month of this incredible journey. Happy New Year!

    • Thank you for joining me in these challenges, Michelle! 🙂 Happy New Year!

  • I did shaer to choose a few of my pay it forwards simply because I was being mindful of each day and often do my own stress level it can be hard to be present. I agree with you that we should be doing this everyday and I feel if this challenge only helped one person then it was a success.

    • I’ve gone back to make a special note in my post – I sure hope no one thinks I’m saying it’s a BAD thing to talk about the ways you’ve paid it forward, eek! I should have made that more clear! Just as I loved that Christmas commercial, I also love hearing about how people have shared kindness with others. This post was just my personal experience and shared thoughts. I’m looking forward to reading your post, Sheryl! 🙂

      • Oh Emily, I didn’t take the way you had worded things as a bad thing! I believe what is most important is that we are all mindful of what is going on in our lives and how we are living.

  • I love that commercial, too 🙂 There were so many wonderful, love-filled commercials on TV this year for Christmas. (I swear, I cried at every single Toys R Us commercial…) I love the idea of paying it forward and I try so hard to be aware of who might need a little kindness (which is pretty much everyone) and how I can bring them that joy. Wonderful challenge, Emily!

  • I love that commercial. I also love the one where the little boys puts something on his neighbor’s porch and it turns out to be a card inviting her to dinner…so sweet.

  • EMILY…yes I’m kind of screaming here….this is why I didn’t link up! I have always felt that a good deed or paying something forward lost its meaning when shared. The deed became more about the doer rather than the recipient. It loses its intent when you share it bc there are some (not all mind you) that enjoy the attention of doing something and love the praise they get for being kind. I’d rather do it quietly from the sidelines. I will share others random acts of kindness though. My sister in laws book club went to dinner one night. They sat and dined and pitched in $40 each. Throughout the night they’d pick random tables to secretly pay their bills. The restaurant manager told them that these gestures changed the whole vibe that night. Bc bills were paid the diners tended to leave larger tips. The wait staff decided to share all of the tips among themselves including dishwashers hosts etc (staff that normally doesn’t receive tips). Their kindness rippled throughout the whole restaurant that night. I would love to do this sometime with my friends.

    • Wow, I have chills!! That is amazing – such a great idea. I’d love to do this one night with friends too! One of the things I have to remind myself throughout the year is that good IS happening in this world… it just might not always be shared because some people just choose to keep it between the people who shared/experienced it. So I guess on one hand I do love hearing about how others are helping others/paying it forward because it gives me hope, but I’m like you and would rather privately journal about those moments 🙂

  • First, I’m glad to see I still have a few days to link-up, provided I get a post written! 🙂 Second, you send such a good message with this post, Emily. Kindness IS always an option available to us, and something that we can do every day, not just when we are challenged to do so. What a great reminder. <3

    • aw, thanks for the sweet note, Jess! And yes!! You still have time to linkup!! 🙂