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If the only prayer you said

in your entire life was ‘thank you’

that would suffice

—Meister Eckhardt


I recently participated in a leadership training where we spoke what we appreciated about the people in our lives, an activity I often encourage people to do for one another at the end of workshop or meeting as well.

It was a powerful reminder of the impact people can have on our lives—and the importance of gratitude, no matter what that impact is. Large or small, negative or positive—as Rumi’s “guest house” poem states: “Be grateful for whoever comes because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.” While he was referring to emotions, the same can be said of people and circumstances in our lives.

While gratitude can serve as a daily practice, it is also a powerful tool at major transitions in our lives and our work…such as when we reflect on the year that has passed, and look forward to the year to come. Thinking of who and what we were grateful for and what lessons we learned from them or how they supported us can serve as a springboard for deepening our work in the year to come. Gratitude is a vital complement to commitment if we can be inspired by what has shown up in our lives and use that to create change.

Most importantly, I find that gratitude is also a powerful lever for relationship-building—which is so essential for making individual and collective change and an area where DIG IN will focus even more of its efforts in the year to come. Whether by helping place-based leaders connect and leverage their work or supporting coalition-building efforts on the state and national level, it is critical to acknowledge the great privilege inherent in doing sustainability and social change work and others engaged in these efforts.

On a personal note, I wanted to express my tremendous gratitude for each of you—whether we have known each other a long time, work together or have collaborated in the past, or you are simply a reader of these posts who I have never met—for the ways in which you have touched my life and the dedication you bring to your work in the world.

Thank you and warm wishes for a bright and peaceful transition to the new year.

December 2012