We all belong to the world in concentric circles of relationship; some more distant and others close, some with people different from us and others more similar. Living within this web of connectedness can bring us the greatest of joys and the deepest challenges. We are prone to preferences and patterns, fears and habits of behavior which can build bridges to other people, and also tear them down. And much of how we operate in our relationships is unconscious and beneath our awareness. Always, the domain of relationship offers fertile ground in which we can learn the most about ourselves, one another and life as a whole. And our capacity for connectedness matters a lot, as our future as a species will depend mightily on our ability to collaborate and cooperate for the common good.
Grateful Living is “interactive mindfulness,” Brother David says. This means that we have the opportunity, when we practice, to bring our full attention to HOW we relate to others. Gratefulness can open our hearts to one another in ways that break down barriers and facilitate connection. We can more easily respond rather than react, inquire rather than opinionate. Compassion is awakened in living gratefully. As the Dalai Lama says, “When you practice gratefulness, there is a sense of respect towards others.”
(On Being, September 2015) In this season of political madness, I’m grateful to have a “charm” against the language of politics, writes Parker J. Palmer…
(January 2015) Filmmakers, Julie Bayer Salzman & Josh Salzman, made “Just Breathe” with their son, his classmates and their family members one Saturday afternoon. The film is entirely unscripted – what the kids say is based purely on their own neuro-scientific understanding of difficult emotions, and how they cope through breathing and meditation. They, in turn, are teaching us all …
(2010) A soulful, grateful song by Natalie Merchant (studio version from the album “Ophelia” 1998) –
I want to thank you
For so many gifts
You gave with love and tenderness…
Imagine a restaurant where there are no prices on the menu and where the check reads $0.00 with only this footnote: “Your meal was a gift from someone who came before you. To keep the chain of gifts alive, we invite you to pay it forward for those who dine after you.” That’s Karma Kitchen, a volunteer-driven experiment in generosity.
(Greater Good Science Center, September 2015) One of the best ways to increase our own happiness is to do things that make other people happy. In countless studies, kindness and generosity have been linked to greater life satisfaction, stronger relationships, and better mental and physical health—generous people even live longer…
(TEDx, February 2013) Nipun Mehta at TEDxMasala. When one of Gandhi’s chappals famously dropped onto the track as he was boarding a train, without hesitation, he let his other chappal also fall. Why? Well, so that whoever would find one would have a usable pair. The kind of generosity that someone like Gandhi practiced, with an alignment of body, speech, and mind, is accessible to each of us…
(CBS News, September 2015) Open arms await the Pope in the United States and 80,000 have vowed to follow in his footsteps, with acts of kindness. It’s called the “Walk With Francis Pledge.”
Each year the International Day of Peace (also known as World Peace Day) is observed around the world on September 21. It is a day “devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.” Here we gratefully offer resources along with news of events and activities happening around the globe in celebration of what is possible!
(2007) A hip-hop/jazz fusion Grateful song by Pete Philly & Perquisite
Margaret Wakeley sings John Bucchino’s song “Grateful” — a heartfelt honoring of life’s many blessings. Piano accompaniment by Molly MacMillan.
(June, 2015) Every year, local communities on either side of the Apurimac River Canyon use traditional Inka engineering techniques to rebuild the Q’eswachaka Bridge. The entire bridge is built in only three days. The bridge has been rebuilt in this same location continually since the time of the Inka.
(2011) Watch as the camera tracks an act of kindness as its passed from one individual to the next and manages to boomerang back to the person who set it into motion. Gratefulness fuels the process.
This seminar explored love in families of different kinds from traditional to contemporary. Here are the films watched at a 2015 film seminar at Esalen.
(2007) This (audio only) Thanksgiving prayer offered by Br. David, accompanied by Gary Malkin’s inspired music, looks towards the possibility of our world uniting in an overflow of gratitude. (4:56)
(December 2014) Whether in political theory or popular culture, human nature is often portrayed as selfish and power hungry. University of California, Berkeley psychologist Dacher Keltner challenges this notion of human nature and seeks to better understand why we evolved pro-social emotions like empathy, compassion and gratitude.
(Brain Pickings) In a culture that makes it easier to be a critic than a celebrator, where it takes growing commitment to do the opposite, how heartening to be reminded of the ennobling gift of gratitude, of the elevating capacity of being one another’s champion…
Empty Hands Music’s mission is to spread seeds of goodness in the world through selfless service, music, and love. All of Empty Hands Music’s offerings are gifts to the world.
For more than a year, artist Lori Portka painted her gratitude through individual pieces of art for 100 people who have made a difference in her life. This beautiful film captures Lori’s motivation and some of the reactions from the recipients of her gratitude at an emotional exhibition of the 100 paintings.
Through a vibrant Charter for Compassion Partner Network, CfC welcomes and communicates the sharing of information, stories and experiences that touch the work of compassion. Sign the Charter for Compassion here and learn about initiatives to cultivate compassion around the globe.
(2014) At the Greater Good Gratitude Summit, Sara B. Algoe of University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, describes her research into how gratitude affects romantic partners’ feelings for one another, as well as their style of relating to each other.
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