One of my favorite lines from The Zen Teacher by Dan Tricarico is, “When our minds are focused on what we are grateful for, it is almost impossible to feel unhappy.” I believe this to be absolutely true. There are lots of tragic stories, horrific news cycles, and flat out poisonous negativity that bombards us everyday. It can become all-consuming if you let it. It can kill you.
Or…you can draw energy from it. I am drawn to amazing and uplifting stories filled with hope, forceful resistance against oppression, people rallying around those in need, and humanity rising above their circumstances to persevere and conquer obstacles and challenges.
Sometimes our brightest hours and our mightiest victories are born out of darkness and despair.
I’m not depressed by the world I see around me. I’m disappointed. I’m frustrated. I’m angry. But, more significantly, I’m also engaged and energized. I’m more inspired to fight the good fight. I’m pacing like a caged tiger waiting for the gate to open…but nobody is there to open it so I’m going to have to knock it down.
Wallowing in negativity leads to inaction. It saps our strength. It makes us want to mentally and physically “check out.” We can’t allow that to happen. Good people need to get to stepping! We need to overwhelm all this virulent venom around us with a tsunami of superlatives and an avalanche of advocacy.
So where can we start?
Why? Because it not only gives us energy, it gives energy to those around us, too. It is a multiplier. You feel better when I authentically thank you for your contribution…and I feel better, too. It’s a win-win in every way imaginable. Gratitude focuses our mind on that which is empowering to us and each other.
Starting with an appreciation for what we have is always the best place to begin to strive for more. Furthermore, a humble recognition that others have helped us to achieve our present level of success is a critical step in the process. It allows us to see that we didn’t sail here alone. It makes us not only willing to seek and accept help from others in the future, but also more willing to lend a hand to the people traveling down these treacherous paths with us.
Life is tough. Look around…who can you help? Who needs a kind word today? (I’ll give you a hint…the answer is EVERYBODY)
And who do you need to thank?
I made a video to be played at the June, 2017 retirement luncheon for a woman who changed my life. I team-taught a first period class for 17 consecutive years with an amazing special education teacher named Billie Fogle. I never intended to share it outside of that setting but a couple of people have run across it on YouTube and mentioned they enjoyed it…so here it is. It is just filmed in one take in a hotel room, has a few inside jokes that might not make sense, and there is no pirate bandana (shocker!), but I hope you enjoy it. (I’m also upset that it sounds like I said, “Penn & Taylor” instead of Teller…but whatever! One take is one take!)
I also wrote a post back in 2011 thanking one of my master/mentor teachers, Melinda Oliver. She is another incredible woman and part of my story as an educator. You can find that post by clicking RIGHT HERE!
Now it is your turn!! Who do you need to thank? Blog about it! Make a video! Call them on the phone! Text them! Set up a time to meet! Tweet them! Hit them up on Facebook! It only matters that you do it! I would love if you would share your gratitude by including #tlap and #gratitude into your tweet on Twitter. Feel free to comment below, as well. You’ll immediately feel better…and you will be uplifting and making someone else’s day at the same time. Look around. We could all use that right now.