Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. It turns problems into gifts, failures into successes, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. It can turn an existence into a real life, and disconnected situations into important and beneficial lessons. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. Melody Beattie, The Language of Letting Go
It’s been a long winding road. From the inception of the idea that became Health Bridges International, to the operations of a full fledge non-governmental organization – this journey has been amazing. We could not have done it without the tremendous support we receive every day. For all the ways you have made HBI an organization that is helping thousands of people every year, building model programs that can be transferred around the world, and helping to connect the disparate pieces that exist between health and support – for all the ways you make HBI possible, I am very grateful.
A friend once challenged me to spend a month with the Jesuit spiritual practice of gratitude. The practice, a meditation based on the teachings of St. Ignatius, helped me cultivate deeper gratitude. What I found in the exercise was a recognition that everything is a gift. All around, each and every day, are the gifts of connection, community, collaboration. Through the exercise of gratitude, I learned to tap into these gifts and call them forward in my work. It’s not as a simple as that. I need ways to reinforce the core lessons. I am far to forgetful. So, I learned to cultivate gratitude through a few practices.
One of my favorite things about my role as the executive director is writing notes of appreciation to the many people who support our efforts. I am so privileged to write a number of these notes every week. It allows me to directly connect with you, our supporters. It reminds me how fortunate we are to have so many people who trust us and our efforts. It gives me a deep sense of gratitude.
Another way I have learned to cultivate a deeper personal experience with gratitude is through relationships. So, every morning I run with a dear friend. Our runs are a time of companionship. But more than that, they are a time of connection. A time when I re-remember the important things in life and hold a deep space of gratitude. The early morning runs ground me in gratitude for the many connections of my life
Gratitude is like a mountain stream – you don’t need to know where the water starts or stops to enjoy the babbling brook. To this analogy, I’ve learned to be present to gratitude by taking a few minutes throughout my week to write down the things I am grateful for. This is more than an inventory of HBI’s programs and projects. It's a time when I really seek to define my “grateful moments.” On some days the writing flows . . . and on other days it feels a bit stalled. However the exercise plays its way out, it provides a clear way for me to acknowledge moments of gratitude.
This Holiday Season, I am very grateful for the many ways you support our work and extend your generosity to our efforts. Thank you for sharing the 24 Reasons to be Thankful for HBI. Please join us in 2020 by staying connected to our social media, website and blog. For of all - many blessings for a wonderful Holiday Season!
The HBI Blog is a rotating journal from our staff. Our Blog is a series of messages from the field, insights from our work, and lessons in service.