It was nearly 34 years ago, when I was completing my Masters in Public Health from UCLA, that I randomly took a mixed media art class just for fun. I could never have imagined where that spark of creative impulse would lead.
Ever since I was a kid, I loved the mail. I’d write away for all those free offers in the back of magazines, mailed barf bags and even sent a letter to the president. So it was only natural that after taking this class, while scoping out less than creative opportunities in public health, that I began making hand-painted greeting cards from my kitchen table. I always loved the joy of connection, doing so with wit and passion. The rest as they say, “is history.”
So here we are, after all these years, as a result of Covid-19 sheltering in place, I find myself back at my kitchen table, trying to make sense of all of the range of emotions, doing what I know… putting pen to paper, and connecting with love and gratitude to the people who mean the most to me.
Gratitude is a powerful agent of change, and I feel certain that, with all the uncertainty surrounding returning to life as we know it, what has emerged is that we have a choice — To either react from fear or respond with love. I knew I needed some structure if I was going to choose the latter and develop this practice. So I embarked on a 30 day challenge — something I’d always wanted to do, but never found the time for — and started writing and mailing a note of gratitude every day, to family, friends, and clients.
I decided to create this blog and the #30ThankYous initiative to inspire those willing to take the challenge, and to share what happens when you take a pause from all of your devices, open your heart, put pen to paper, and share a note with a long lost friend, or even a stranger you just met. The gift is in the giving, knowing it can brighten someone’s day, serve as a meaningful keepsake reminder of your appreciation, and raise someone spirits in the most unexpected ways.
I already can hear what you’re thinking! “He actually is send notes by mail?”, “Where am I going to find stamps?”, “I’ll just send a text!” Believe me, I’ve thought the same things. But what I’ve found over the past 30 days is that there’s great power that comes from expressing gratitude IN WRITING. It’s why this 30 Thank Yous initiative has been so powerful. In its simplicity, it has brought me back to the roots of connection. It’s communication… pure and simple.
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes by Duke Ellington…
“Every time one of God’s children have thrown away fear in pursuit of honesty, trying to communicate, understood or not, miracles have happened.”
I not only invite you, but encourage you to join me. And please continue to stay safe, respond with love and stay connected.