My experience today at a Gratitude Life Class has reminded me that I am part of a global movement of individuals who are seeking an inner change that results in a more loving society. When we moved into a nomadic life two years ago, we felt like we were two of only a handful of people who were intent on shifting our spiritual consciousness for the good of the planet.

During our travels, we have discovered that there are many, many people out there who are pursuing holistic godliness in the ways they think, parent, obtain resources and foster relationships. It is a blessing to us to encourage others who are on this counter-cultural journey, and in turn, we are encouraged to be the change we want to see in the world — and in our children.

Toni Powell experienced a profound change in her own attitude after she started deliberately seeking out things for which she could be thankful. Now she dedicates herself to sharing her simple but important message with audiences through classes, online mentoring, email prompts and documentaries.

Toni Powell, Life Gratitude Class, August 2012
Toni's presentation uses powerful images to illustrate her points.

Deliberately practising gratitude has been one of the ways that I have fostered hope and perspective after Elijah’s death. In attending Toni’s class — as an invited guest — I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to meet other people who are choosing to walk a more grateful path.

Here are some of my notes from the day, some precepts that I’ll be pondering upon:

  • For some people, extraordinarily awful things happen. For others, awful things occur. For both, we choose how to respond. My response can always be one of loveliness, despite the scale of awfulness that I feel.
  • There is nothing that makes us happy, except an acceptance of what is.
  • Every day, no matter what situation we’re in, we walk past opportunities to smile.
  • Everyone’s destination is death. Life is found in the journey.
  • The ordinary is the part of our world that is most extraordinary. We just need to see it differently. — This message is illustrated in a powerful short film called Seeing.
  • Gratitude reduces criticism and contempt.
  • Gratitude is best served in communication.
  • Faithfulness is having your partner’s back in all that you say about them.
  • Grace notices the little that is done and overlooks the rest.
  • Life can be really fun if we take it minute-by-minute and enjoy each minute.

So let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.
— Mother Theresa

The class has inspired me to display more gratitude in my life and to be more lovely in personal interactions. I want to start smiling more, to greet my children lovingly, to deliberately go off-line when offered opportunities for face-to-face relationships and to write thank-you notes. I also want to remember to notice and appreciate pleasures that are within reach of my five senses.

Thank you, Toni, for inviting me to your class today. I leave with you a special piece of my heart to encourage and inspire you to continue to the good work you’re doing.