Gratitude Inventory

This week has felt heavier than recent ones.  No matter how much sleep I get, or how much coffee I consume, I’m still tired.  I look forward to coming to school every day, and it still feels heavy.  Perhaps it’s true that we’re collectively experiencing pandemic fatigue.  Although some restrictions have lifted, there’s still more to go through.  Cases are on the rise again, just in time for the holiday season, and I wonder how long we’ll have to live like this.  Some experts say Covid-19 will always be a part of our lives in one form or another.

As a staff we try to maintain an upbeat attitude, and I, as one of the school leaders, take this responsibility seriously.  A significant part of my job is holding space for all who enter our door—students, parents, and our staff.  It’s an honor to be in this position, and it is sometimes overwhelming.  This week has been one of those times.  

Rather than let this feeling overtake me, I decided it was time to take a gratitude inventory.  I started making a list of things for which I am grateful:

  • working in a place where respect for each other and the planet is at the forefront of all we do
  • our spacious playground
  • classroom gardens bursting with life
  • young writers and artists
  • beautiful November weather
  • living in a country with all the freedoms we have
  • vaccine now available for our elementary students
  • the Seed’s inclusivity and embracing of uniqueness
  • our students’ creativity and innovation
  • the opportunity to share leadership of the Seed with Danielle
  • our immensely devoted staff
  • generous, supportive parents   

As chance would have it, the podcast I was listening to on my walk this morning addressed this exact practice of taking stock of the small or not so small things in life as a way to find optimism in challenging times.  The interview of author Elizabeth Gilbert with journalist Pico Iyer focused on hope.  Gilbert’s quote about our current situation with the pandemic resonated: “This moment has only spotlit what is always the case. We’re always living in a state of uncertainty — two years ago, two years from now — and that therefore, part of our challenge as I see it is to…make it our home. This is where we’re living, every day of our lives. And so, as you said, let’s rejoice in it, furnish it, close the door, rearrange the books, and say, Make this as beautiful as it can be, given that forest fire, earthquake, or who knows what will be coming tomorrow — or tremendous beauty and love may be coming in the door tomorrow.”  Embracing this time, making it our home, is how we find grace.  

Elizabeth Gilbert added one additional thought that was helpful:  “So my hopes have been reduced to very small, intimate wishes for transformations interiorly that will make me be able to move through whatever comes without adding to the drama, the pain, and the chaos.”  In the end it seems like all any of us can do is continue to honor sources of gratitude that come along.  Keeping up with practices that help us refrain from adding to the drama and chaos of life isn’t a bad idea either.  

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