Over the years, so many of you have gifted us with your stories of how grateful living informs, shapes, and is manifested in your lives. You’ve sent us profoundly moving emails and letters, offered your poetry and personal journeys, shared how your organizational missions are rooted in gratitude, and described the ways gratefulness has been a guidepost in times of joy and in times of grief. We’ve received each of these offerings as the sacred gift that it is — the gift of your voice telling your story.
Now, for the first time, we’re excited and deeply honored to be launching a project that lifts up your stories through video. To see your faces and hear your voices — this is yet another rich gift.
The series begins with the voices of our first seven participants: James, Marta, Noah, Vishal, Claire, Wendy, and Adetola. Below we offer a short video featuring excerpts from each of their interviews followed by links to their individual stories. To learn more about the project and read a text transcript of the trailer, visit Grateful Voices: Introduction
“When I talk with elation about my gratefulness, I wouldn’t want anyone to think that my life has been easy. I come to my place of gratefulness because I understand pain and loss,” says James. In this short film, James shares his story of pain and joy and his understanding of the liberating potential of love, respect, and our profound connection to the universe. Watch now.
“Todos tenemos la oportunidad de cambiar el mundo cuando caminamos como una bendición. We all have the chance to change the world when we walk the world as a blessing,” says Marta. She shares her story of surviving a civil war, the challenges of being an immigrant in the U.S., and how Br. David deepened her understanding of gratefulness. Watch now.
“I learn from the great fullness of life, including the things that I don’t feel grateful for and the things that I do feel grateful for by really paying attention to the whole range of emotions,” says Noah. In this short film, he shares how a traumatic experience led to a life-changing awakening and how he is learning from the great fullness of life. Watch now.
“Once you bring that presence of gratitude in your interactions with others, you can’t help but really kind of see the value and see the divinity in them,” says Vishal. He shares, in this short film, how he awakened to gratefulness and his interest in the role of empathy, gratefulness, and compassion in patient-physican communication. Watch now.
“I think the real gift of a handicap — I don’t know about a disease — is that you, you come to a place where you know you can’t do something,” says Claire. “And if you hold on there, something emerges. There is always another way to go. Always.” In this short film, Claire shares her story of deafness, defiance, grit, and gratitude. Watch now.
“Gratitude gives us hope. Gratitude impacts how others perceive us. Gratitude is multidimensional,” says Wendy. “There is the personal gratefulness you have and then sharing your gratitude with others that makes such a big impact on how people see themselves.” In this short film, Wendy shares how gratefulness supports her in facing challenging situations and in her connection with others. Watch now.
“Gratefulness is a way of honoring my African ancestors,” says Adetola, “The intimate knowing that generations have gone before you and lived in a way that gives you the ability to say, I am here, I can do it, I can make it because the way has been paved.” Adetola shares her story in this short film, encouraging viewers to “Live gratefully–do not be afraid, do your best, stand in your power and be proud of who you are.” Watch now.
We offer heartfelt gratitude to each of the participants and our warmest thanks to Doug Menuez and his team, including Executive Producer Pear Urushima, Director of Photography Luke Carquillat and Sound Technician/Gaffer Dino Davaros for making this project possible.
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We are delighted to announce the release of Kristi Nelson’s book Wake Up Grateful