Through the practice of gratitude we can create a powerful antidote to carry with us as we travel into even the hardest of moments in our lives.
What has now become a series of books, all under the umbrella of One Year Wiser, began as a passion project and a first attempt of mine to move out of the world of self published books and into the realm of publishing. In 2013, after editing and publishing a series of small comics and comic anthologies, I decided to put together my first book proposal to send to publishers. It was a biography comic about the life and poetry of Zen master Ryokan. He was a 19th century Zen poet whose work had a massive influence on my spiritual development throughout my twenties. The proposed book was broken up into three sections, with the last section being Ryokan’s poems adapted into full page illustrations.
After being rejected by more publishers than I care to remember, my agent finally got a meeting with SelfMadeHero (the publisher of One Year Wiser) to discuss what project might work, if this biography didn’t suit them. Together my agent and the publisher had the idea of doing a one a day book. After the meeting my agent called me, I was at work at Gosh! comics, in Soho, London at the time and ran out of the shop to take the call. She told me the idea they had discussed, I hung up the phone and in the 15 seconds it took to walk back to the shop the title One Year Wiser was in my head. I remember my colleague asking what the news was and me telling him the idea and the title.
I suppose this is a long way of showing how my career has been made up of intuition and not wasting opportunity. Although it was hard to put aside my passion project I can see now how it was actually helping me move with the universe towards a life I could not imagine I would live back in 2013.
After One Year Wiser: 365 Illustrated Meditations came out and also the companion colouring book, I started receiving messages about how much people were enjoying the books and also some messages about the positive effect it was having on people’s lives.
To wake up and use my time to create something positive for this world filled me (and still fills me) with overwhelming feelings of gratitude towards the motions of the universe that brought me to this point. It felt as though my heart had literally grown in size.
So when the time came to decide what would be next in the One Year Wiser series, it seemed so natural to create a book that would facilitate people’s own journey of gratitude. A that is how One Year Wiser: A Gratitude Journal came to be.
This life is hard, it can wear us down and out and not apologise. Each day we battle a thousand different battles with ourselves and the world around us. It is easy to let life get the best of us. But at the very same time this world has so much beauty, wonder, kindness and love in it all the time, even if it is hard to find. Through the practice of gratitude we can create a powerful antidote to carry with us as we travel into even the hardest of moments in our lives. It is not easy and, when things are darkest, seems downright impossible but the trying is the winning. One moment of gratitude is one moment of being truly alive.
Mike’s book, One Year Wiser: A Gratitude Journal will be available soon on Amazon.com. See Mike’s work on his website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Etsy. And look for some of his designs in our eCard collection!