On thankfulness

I’d be lying if I tried to deny that the most repeated phrase I’ve been saying the past few weeks is, “Can you believe it’s November?” In the beginning of the month, you could still hear the surprise in my voice, but at times this confession felt like a plea. Really, November, chill out. Suffice it to say, it’s been a busy month. I’m on pretty friendly terms with busy, and I can let you know we hit some major planning milestones and deadlines this month. For SAAM 2013 products are ordered, materials designed, and resource CDs are in production. Woot!

At the same time, there’s a little bit of a scurry to this month that pushes me past contentedly-busy toward overwhelmed. The year is almost over, for many of us there is a holiday season underfoot, there are the projects that are always there and the ones that somehow settled on the backburner. The days are shorter, and before we know it another calendar page will turn. I’ll have a new mantra of the month, and my guess is that it will be, “Can you believe 2013 is almost here?” I’ll spend sometime considering whether or not believing it can have any impact on the statement’s truth. (Don’t worry; I won’t waste too much time thinking about it. I’m busy after all!)

But before I lose sight of the moment, I’m going to force out a breath. If you could hear it, it was a sigh of relief. Because when I’m honest, the name of the month changes but the landscape is constant. There will always be more to do than we have time to accomplish, and I find a temporary peace in acknowledging this idea. In this moment, I’m going to let “thankfulness” reach the top of the pile. I am allowing myself to prioritize gratitude. Because a moment spent acknowledging the gifts of our life and work is more than worthwhile, I believe thankfulness is best practice and vital self-care.

As a member of the SAAM campaign team, I am thankful for our many partners who support this project and contribute to our movement’s work. I am thankful  for the hours spent, insight offered, commitment and collaboration that cannot be measured. This investment is the life-blood of the SAAM campaign, and each month this team grows until it culminates in April when SAAM involvement reaches across the globe. I am thankful for each voice along the way that contributes to a collective vision for social change, a more equitable future, a safer world.

Thankfulness is about appreciation, but I also think it can be a productive sentiment. In acknowledging the broader contributions to our life and work, a door is open to be further accountable, committed and allied to that support. How can I best support these partners? What more can I offer to this collaboration? Can more voices be heard? For me, these are hard questions, and I don’t want to lose sight of this important work when the “busyies” strike again. Note to self: Sometimes the most important projects don’t have a deadline.

In closing, I’m thankful for your patience with this reflection. It is a moment in time, and you’ve chosen to share it with me. Thank you. If there is any gift that I can offer in return, it is to ask that you find a moment to catalog some of your own thankfulness. As I mentioned, expressing gratitude is a step of self-care. Self-care is a gift that sustains our well-being and work, and it can be easy to lose sight of its value in busier times. But it is vital, as you are too, for which I am also thankful.  

In gratitude, lp.