Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Make a Difference- Set Off a Gratitude Chain

How do you feel about what you see and hear in the world around you? I notice that even the comic strips are getting pretty bleak. In the news, our neighborhoods and even our own lives many of us are dealing with fear and uncertainties. Even the bodies that we walk around in may feel (to us) as “less than” or “in decline.”

Simply put, the outlook on the world right now just doesn't seem very bright for many people. The sense of foreboding, fear and even helplessness might spur some to action: “Save the World” or “Change the Current Tides.”

Wanting to make a positive difference in your world can certainly help us feel more powerful and can even benefit ourselves and others. But when the focus continues to be on the conditions that are perceived unwanted, it's unlikely that your world will significantly change anytime soon.

Why not get into the habit of recognizing a situation or condition that you do not like and then making a conscious decision to shift your energy toward what you do like and what you want to create instead? This isn't denial. In fact, getting a good look at what doesn't please you can be an empowering way to become clear.

Gratitude is a wonderful way to start turning in the direction of what you do want. The ripple effects of gratitude can also make a positive difference in your world.

The Gratitude Chain
One of my close friends, Melissa, introduced a gratitude practice to me that not only feels good but also has the potential to encourage powerful changes in the lives of many others. Melissa and I, along with other friends, participate in the online social networking site Facebook. This is the place where Melissa set off a ripple of gratitude that keeps reverberating.

Melissa decided to post a list of a few things that she felt grateful for in that moment and I was one of friends she “tagged” in the note. In turn, I posted a list of things I was feeling gratitude about and tagged not only Melissa, but also a handful of different friends. Many of them posted their own gratitude lists.

What a delight and inspiration for me to share a friend's gratitude moment with a larger community. I can then choose to reach into myself and create my own list to share.

The thing about gratitude is that you don't have to feel great to be grateful.

Sometimes the gratitude lists we post are glowing like: “I am grateful for the beauty of the sun.” But this practice has also showed me that we can all feel gratitude even when life doesn't seem so sun-shiny or peaceful.

This doesn't mean that you stuff down sad, fearful or angry feelings. What it can mean is that you look within yourself for sense of appreciation about whatever is happening- the “silver lining” or lesson in the challenge. I often find that whatever is troubling me somehow lightens and feels less insurmountable when I cultivate gratitude.

The power of gratitude is that once you open up to it, your view expands and you can now see and experience more and more of the stuff that makes you feel good.

Try it out and spread it around.
So why not experiment with your own gratitude chain? You don't have to be on Facebook or even have internet access to do this.

Simply share what you are finding to appreciate about your life and world with others. Whether it's over the workroom lunchtable or a chat with your neighbor, talk more about what you feel grateful for with others then watch to see who is inspired to continue the practice.

You never know what kind of chain reaction you might set off!


  1. Oh Amy. I really love this line:
    "The thing about gratitude is that you don't have to feel great to be grateful."

    I am grateful for you.

  2. Thanks for sharing this. Gratitude is the way to go, and I appreciate your words. Everything you do does indeed ripple out and makes a difference to all you encounter. Enjoy this beautiful day. Chris (