First week back at work was filled with various meetings, resource gathering, administration duties and greeting new staff. As my Christmas break was complimented with learning the practice of gratitude, I approached this week with reflective journaling and recognition of my Inner Attitude when attending various meetings. Howells (2012) outlines Inner Attitude as the impact on our intention and attention we when practicing gratitude. My Inner Attitude was going to be my driver for the week.
Today I came to work with my picnic basket loaded with homemade muffins sweet and savoury and two thermos flasks so I could offer tea and coffee along with compliment said muffins. I had invited my immediate team to join me for lunch and a chance to catch up.
During our catch up my team asked me what it was I had done over my Christmas break. I mentioned the subject that I have been learning and gave a brief outline of what I believed were pivotal points in the gratitude of practice.
- Awareness of self and possible journey of self-transformation as one becomes aware of his/her practices of gratitude. Howells (2012, p.84) states “If gratitude assists teachers to have better relationships with themselves, their students and society, and it can help them bring more of their whole self to the teaching process, then it also enhances teacher presence.”
- Adversity can be integral to gratitude. Howells (2012) outlines adversity as an experience that can assist one with building resilience. Learning lessons through self-reflection of adversity can also present gifts of gratitude.
- Consistent practice doesn’t necessarily mean daily. Howells (2012) suggests when first learning the practice of gratitude to choose only one thing to practice e.g. thanking a person and become better at doing that task with intent of gratitude rather than practising lots of things at once.
- Butterfly effect. Edward Lorenzo’s chaos theory outlining small changes creating a larger change in the future. Example may be thanking a student for attending class. In return that student begins to feel the connectedness with the teacher and begins his/her own practice moving forward in the future.
- Connectedness encourages community. Howells (2012) reminds us that we are a part of community and we need to start our journey together where we are.
Walking back to our building one of my team mates said “Tash, thank you. You brought us lunch, made time to ensure we ate and gave us time to catch up and support each other. Im very grateful for you to do that for us. Maybe what you brought today was a basket of gratitude.” I smiled and thanked her for her kind words.
Now hours later I am reflecting on her words. Like many people when we share moments of connectedness with others we do so through the act of sharing a meal. Today my team shared a meal, gave each other encouragement and support through adversities being faced on both personal and professional levels, we had a moment of connectedness in which a common bond was reached. Gifts of gratitude were exchanged.
I am grateful for the support we share as a small group. I intend on practicing gratitude to all that I come in contact with. Maya Angelou, American poet and civil rights activist said “When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” The opportunity to do for others has made me a happier, calmer and more purposeful human being.
I have suggested the lunch via the picnic basket become one of our weekly lunch dates so that we may reflect on what was, what is, and what could be. Supporting one another will create our community and though small will provide opportunity for us to invite others to join the gratitude journey.
So my question to you is how will you spread the practice of gratitude this year?