We live in a world in which systemic cruelty, discrimination, violence, and poverty are pervasive. Sometimes we ourselves suffer at the hands of these injustices, and other times it is the suffering of others that we face. There are days when being “awake” to the truth of the conditions of the world is more than our hearts feel able to bear. At times such as these, we can experience equal parts outrage, overwhelm, heartbreak, and powerlessness. Our wellspring of empathy can seem emptied, and we may feel exhausted by our concerns for the world, and the global family to which we belong. What is there to “do?”

Grateful Living can be most challenging when we are faced with incomprehensible pain and cruelty, but these are the moments when taking stock of the opportunities at hand can offer us greater agency. As Nelson Mandela said when he was released from 27 years in jail, “As I walked out the door…toward my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.” Liberation and social change require action. Grateful living asks us to “stop” to experience our heart’s truth, to “look” in order to notice what resources we have at hand with which we can make a difference, and to “go” – taking action that expresses our deepest commitments to a world with peace and justice for all.