This post was written to honor and celebrate the launch of the book #EvolvingWithGratitude by Lainie Rowell. I am one of the proud contributors of this important and meaningful read. My hope is that #EvolvingWithGratitude will be a source of inspiration for every person who serves in an educational organization. It holds a rich source of ideas, resources, and information about how to use gratitude to create safe, equitable, empowering learning experiences for ALL learners.
Gratitude is a feeling of deep appreciation that is woven into the fabric of our lives. Feelings of gratitude are discovered in small moments that manifest in the stories we live in over the course of time. Sometimes it’s hard to recognize and feel gratitude in those moments because we are so caught up in the experience itself. Have you ever found it difficult to notice the impact simple moments have on your heart and mind when you are living in them?
Gratitude is feeling thankful for simple actions, possessing an urge to give recognition to those who have touched your life. It’s showing how deeply appreciative you are and not expecting anything in return. It’s harnessing a state of reflection and thinking of all of the moments that may have passed you by, ultimately impacting the trajectory of your life.
Gratitude lives in all the moments. It’s easier to show it during moments of happiness and joy. It’s the moments that push on your heart, rent space in your head, and put stress on your emotional deposit box that can be hard to unpack. It’s the unfavorable and disappointing experiences you may have encountered with various people or circumstances over the course of your life that can feel heavy resting on your shoulders. These are the feelings that can become trapped in your conscience and shift your spirit. So I ask, how do you find gratitude in those hard moments? While you are searching, you may have to dig a bit deeper to find gratitude through the hurt, the disappointment, and the adverse actions you may have experienced and could not control in those uncomfortable spaces.
Maybe you can find gratitude in the lessons you have learned because they have made you stronger. Maybe you can find gratitude by calling these interactions learning moments. Maybe those unfavorable moments have encouraged you to think about how to approach people or situations differently in the future. Maybe the gratitude is understanding that those moments have shaped you into the person you are and are continuously striving to be. In the book #EvolvingWithGratitude by Lainie Rowell, she shares, “We often don’t appreciate what we have until we imagine how different life could have been.” Can you find comfort in knowing those difficult moments have transported you to the very place you are living in now? Those difficult moments will continue to guide you as you find your way to the new destinations that await.
Recently, a friend I hadn’t heard from in a while reached out to share that they were having some challenges in their life. I responded to her sentiments with these words: “Life can be hard, but the barriers put before us make you stronger. It’s easy to find gratitude in moments of joy, but harder to find it in the disappointing or hard times. Keep holding your head high; there are bright spots in the hard moments that can only be realized in the future.”
Gratitude is taking the time to tell the people from the past and present that you are truly grateful for them more often. It could be people who were placed in your life for minutes, hours, days, months, or years. Perhaps you have held on to some of those people, while you have let others go. Whatever the case may be, those people were placed in your life for a reason. Maybe they served as signposts, guides, mentors on your journey. They have helped pave the way to your growth and development for the person you are and want to be; THEY are the stories that are woven into the fabric of your lives.